Arches National Park - Delicate Arch
Hiking and traveling has been like therapy for me. In the last 18 months I’ve flown thousand of miles, I’ve driven thousands of miles, I’ve hiked a lot of miles. I’ve documented most of those travels here. I enjoy it tremendously, I have fun, I meet great people, I make great memories, but it does not mean that I leave all my life behind. I still carry in my heart and mind the heartbreak, the pain, the questions of the last 2 years. The pain is not as severe any more, my heart is healing, the questions are being let go. I’m moving on little by little. The hike to Delicate Arch was yet another step in that process.
Forgiveness comes in all different forms. I’ve known for a while now that I forgive my ex wife for her betrayal and for breaking my heart. What does that mean? It does not mean I approve of what she did, it does not mean I want to be her friend, it does not mean I have stopped hurting, it does not mean I’m fully healed. It just means that in my heart I’m letting go of the pain, anger and resentment…and it’s all for me. It’s not for her sake, it’s for my sake. I do not wish to keep anger and resentment in my heart. Very early on in the divorce process I decided there would be no space in my heart for those emotions.
I don’t know why I was intimidated by this hike so much. It’s 1.5 miles each way, the first third of the hike is quite easy but the middle part is a climb on steep slickrock. The last third is more uphill on all types of terrain. At this point I had already hiked quite a bit in other parks so I was hurting big time. I really thought I didn’t have it in me to finish this hike.
So I get to the trail’s parking lot quite early as it’s a very popular hike. To my surprise, the lot is pretty empty. It turns out the trail has been closed for hours because there is a search and rescue going on. Someone got hurt up the trail and Search & Rescue was doing their job. As a sidenote, it’s amazing what it takes to rescue someone. Safety while hiking gets taken for granted all the time and it’s surprising to see people attempt this hike, and many others, with one bottle of water and wearing flipflops. It took about 20 people to get this person out. Six scouts went in first to locate the person and afterwards 14 others went up with tons of equipment, including an off-road type of gurney.
So I stayed in the parking lot for about one and a half hours until the trail was reopened and up I went. As I thought, the uphill hike on the slickrock was a total pain in the ass. Holy cow was it hard for me. I was already sore from the previous days of hiking so this was hard. At least the weather was somewhat cool. Finally I make it to the top and I was happy because I thought I had arrived. Nope. The trail kept going and going and going. Every time I took a turn I expected to see the arch and each time I didn’t see it’d go “Where the FUCK IS THIS ARCH???”. Oh man I was tired. Another turn and you see a path that hugs a big rock. Some more uphill hiking. One more turn, more uphill but then you turn to the right and WHAM…there it is. It’s just so hard to describe the moment. Much like Yosemite Valley View, when you look at Delicate Arch it’s just so perfect. This is nature, this is supposed to be just random rocks being randomly placed and randomly eroded by wind over millions of years. Yet it’s so freaking perfect in every way. It’s as if a bunch of designers, architects and engineers got together and placed this perfect arch in the perfect place in this mountain so that the sunset would light it just right to make it spectacular. Even the plateau where the arch is placed is set up to be a sort of amphitheater where people can sit and admire the arch. It’s just perfect and yet it’s all just random nature.
I stayed up there for two hours and I just didn’t want to leave. It was magical. I just felt this sense of calmness and happiness up there. All the pain of everything went away. I just wanted to stay up there forever. But I had to come down because it was getting dark and I didn’t want to hike down in the dark. So I left, giving the arch one last look. I was feeling so good. The hike down was so much more easier. I make it to my car and I just sit there for a while. My body is so tired but my soul was bright and rejuvenated. That’s when I take out my phone, there is no signal up there, but I write a text to my ex-wife. I tell her that I have prayed for both of us and that I forgive her. I hit send and then I erase her phone number from my contacts. To think, two years ago I would have NEVER EVER imagined that at this point I would be erasing my wife’s phone number from my phone and memory! Later on in the hotel I get the message that the text was sent. That was that. She has not contacted me. I don’t expect her to and frankly, I don’t want her to. Like I said, this was all for me. If she gets anything out of it, good for her…but this was for me…