Beat the Crowds

I had to wait for-fucking-ever to get this photo. Fortunately, I think it was worth the wait. It's not my best from our trip to Arches National Park, but I think it's pretty good. We sat there for a good ten minutes below the North Window, waiting for people to clear out. First there was a guy just kind of standing there for a few minutes. Then, his wife came up to join him under the arch. She handed him a camera and said, "Now go back down and take a picture of me!" And she stood there while he dutifully trudged back down the slope, camera in hand. Then she stood there for a good long while, shouting instructions down at him. "Move farther down! Now go about five feet to the left! No, come farther back up! George...George! George! Move back over! Now take the picture! Okay, take another one, just to be sure! Now move over to the right! Now take the picture!" God Almighty, I wanted to throttle her. But once the epic picture-taking process was complete, she went off to join poor George and the arch was free from human presence for several minutes.

And that, when you think about it, is pretty remarkable. In the middle of the afternoon on a day with weather as gorgeous as we had (scattered clouds and 65°) at one of the park's main attractions, the opportunity to take photos like this:

...and this: pretty cool. If you're looking for a time to visit Arches, you could do worse than early April. A lot worse. I can't imagine what it would be like trying to take anything resembling a worthwhile photo of the Windows site in July. There were more than a few people there, but nothing like the hordes who must certainly come up from Moab (and, for that matter, down from Grand Junction) in the middle of summer. Though it was annoying waiting for Ms. "Go Take a Photo of Me, George!", it was at least possible to wait her out. When the park is truly busy, each of these photos would also feature two or three groups of bored parents completely ignoring their thirty or forty screaming children crawling all over the geology, right in front of all the signs that explicitly say to stay on the marked trail, because there would be no convenient gaps in the crowds during which to take photos of the deserted site.

Beat the crowds, I say. With a stick, if necessary.