Sunrise at Arches

Sunrise at Arches National Park

I make it a habit to get up for at least one sunrise when traveling – especially in National Parks.

After tweaking my hand and having to ditch a climbing trip last January my fiance and I rerouted our travels to Moab, UT where they were experiencing record lows. Still, I had to squeeze in the first light of day. In below zero temperatures we shivered our way into the car and headed out under the cover of darkness. When we pulled into the “Windows” parking area shortly before 6 a.m. we were the second car there. After bundling up we forced ourselves into the elements. The trails were icy and our laughter broke the still of the morning as we slipped and slid our way around the formations.

As day broke the sunlight illuminated the rock an amazing shade of red, a stark contrast to the pastel pinks, purples and blues that were filling the sky. Despite the cold that came from standing still the beauty of my surroundings stopped me in my tracks. Snow gently framed every imperfection, every ledge, bush, rock and ripple in the park, whose scale was more grandeur than I could have ever imagined.

There is something about being present for the first light of day that leaves the viewer with a sense of hope – the day is theirs to seize and make the most of. I mourn the heavy-lidded who stay in bed well after the crack of dawn and hope that at least once they’ll make an effort to crawl out of bed and into daybreak.

It was a magical way to start an amazing day of exploration in one of my favorite National Parks. I think back to that sunrise at Arches often and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.


  1. Wilderness Dave says:

    Amanda! Amazing shot and great experience, you tell the story well.

    My wife and I do the same thing, we HAVE to catch at least one sunrise on every trip even if it means getting up in the dark, frosty morning and driving to a great view point. It’s a tradition now and we don’t miss the opportunity. I do feel like I get so much more out of my travel experience when I can be up and on location for a killer sunrise.

    Nice stuff!

  2. I just noticed the moon (I think) in this shot Amanda. Very cool shot and story. With my oldest son now in Kindergarten I see first light most week days. I’ve come to appreciate that time much more than I have in the past.

    When we’re traveling, especially in the National Parks, I like to make the most of each day. It just feels like the limits of a 3 day weekend or even a week on the road is too fleeting so an early rise is almost imperative.

    Thanks for sharing one of you favorite shots with all of us. Welcome to the PF family!

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