Canyons and Arches –
___The eastern edge of the huge bulge of the San Rafael Swell is broken off like the jagged teeth of some prehistoric beast. Made of slickrock sandstone, it runs for over fifty miles like a great, inhuman wall. It is cut through every so often by narrow slot canyons that funnel tremendous volumes of water during flash floods. These are deadly places to enter at such times. When the sky is blue and the weather fine, however, it is one of the most fascinating places to explore.
___I hiked a loop trail up Little Wild Horse Canyon, and then back down Bell Canyon. They are enchanting and fascinating with their fluted, winding, softly colored passages and their astounding narrowness and tallness. At times, the channel is so narrow and convoluted that I had to bend down and around and literally had no flat place to put a foot - only the V where the sandstone walls merge together. Many pouroff spots had to be scrambled up or down, but the effect is wondrous and makes me feel like a grown man in a kid's playland made for the child of a giant.
  ___West of the San Rafael Swell is another great stone barrier wall. Capitol Reef National Park encompasses the Waterpocket Fold and seems to own its own proprietary palette of colors. An immense shield of sandstone, Capitol Reef is cut through only by the verdant Freemont River with its Mormon fruit orchards and poignant sense of the past.
___The Mormon pioneers were only one of the last groups to discover and settle by this life sustaining stream.
___Circling east now, I pause to wonder once again at profound and beautiful Delicate Arch, and I recalled something I wrote here many years ago.

Delicate Arch is waiting. Standing on the edge.

More than the effort of crumbled and windblown stone,

It is like a letter in some unknown alphabet

Set glowing and hard on the desert wall

Quietly hidden until it is sought, or,

More likely still, an entire word –

A statement waiting for some reader.

Is it then a symbol,

Spoken in a language not of words?

Is the speaker also the audience,

Or does he speak to men?

Does he utter such a thing

That shapes the land in reddened art,

Or say some other thing that lies

Beyond the sand and sky?


Delicate Arch remains, silently ringing.



This site and all text and photographs within are Copyright, 2002, David P. Crews. All rights reserved.