Hidden Arch:

I had asked Father if we might be able to visit the Arches park, also located in Utah, but evidently it was farther away than I had imagined. By way of consolation, he offered to take me to see an arch that was located somewhere in Zion canyon. As we set out down the dusty trail, I could hardly contain my excitement. I had never seen a natural stone arch before, and I was fascinated by the idea. Father assured me that while the trail was steep, it wouldn’t be nearly so harrowing as the Angel’s Landing had been. Being a less popular and more remote location, the path was dusty and rock strewn, but for the first time since we’d been at Zion, it felt as though we had the park to ourselves. After a couple miles of hiking, we reached the base of the far canyon wall. Unlike the hard red rocks populating the rest of the canyon system, this was a white, chalky stone producing a granulated sand that coated the surface of the otherwise solid rock. Though the path cut into the cliff wall was wide enough that hikers could pass each other easily, it was steep. Though it was hewn of solid rock, the sandy white powder made my feet feel uneasy beneath me. My mind conjured recent images of the canyon floor, a thousand horrifying feet below. I tried my best to forge onward, but when my foot slipped and there was nothing to see ahead but blue sky, I froze in place. Father tried to motivate me, but I was ready to go back to where the ground was flat and the sky was above. After a couple false starts, the promise of seeing an arch helped me discover a hidden reserve of courage. It wasn’t much farther to the Hidden Canyon, which as it’s name implied was quite impossible to see from below. The canyon floor was the same white sand as covered the trail, but rising above the narrow canyon were cliffs of the same red sandstone I had come to expect from the region. Father found a wide crack in the wall, and stuffed his hands and feet into, climbing several feet up before deciding it wasn’t wise to climb higher without protection and so far from civilization. He dropped back down, and we continued deeper into the little canyon. Father carried on about how he would like to climb up to the top of the canyon wall, and how he wondered if anyone had ever been up there before. After a few short minutes, we arrived at the promised arch. It was so tiny that Father could stand underneath and touch its apex. I felt that the arch looked out of place in its environment. A dozen feet beyond it, the canyon closed to an impassable crack, further giving the impression that the arch was a tourist attraction added to give the otherwise uninteresting canyon some measure of appeal. Walking back down the trail was easier for me, as on descent the far wall was visible and the feeling of falling off into the wide, unknown sky was absent.