I’ve been coming to Arches National Park for decades. It was the first place I visited in the desert, and before he’d bring me, my friend Pete required that I read Ed Abbey’s Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang to set the context for the place.

Then there was a sort of hiatus from photography and the desert (people do dumb things, sometimes). A few years ago, my friend Nick gave me a copy of Doug Peacock’s Walking it Off. Peacock was Ed Abbey’s model for George Washington Hayduke, the primary character in The Monkey Wrench Gang. That read was all it took to get me to take a desert pilgrimage, and, of course, I had to start at Arches.

Sort of coming back home, although all the people in the park broke my heart. There must have been a million noisy, obnoxious, irreverent tourists at Arches. My pilgrimage took me to Canyonlands (more people shouting in the cathedral that is the desert), Hovenweep, Betatakin, Zion, Bryce Canyon and then Capitol Reef National Park. I had some problems with bronchitis on that trip, but when I dropped into Capitol Reef, I had the oddest experience. I burst into tears and said, “I’m home.” That’s all. I’ve been coming to the red rock country as often as possible since then and start getting the shakes and hives if I have to go through desert withdrawal.

Anyway, here’s what I saw at Arches the other day:

The backlighting, or rimlighting, as the pros call it, made these hills stand out. With a little work, this might just turn into a nice black-and-white print.

Rimlit hills, Arches NP

Rimlit hills, Arches NP

Snow does a lot for the desert, as you can readily see.

Snow on the fins

Snow on the fins

And, of course, there’s the icon of Arches (or is it Delicate Arch? Dunno), Landscape Arch:

Landscape Arch, Arches NP

Landscape Arch, Arches NP