by Matt Kim
And to think I almost didn’t make it…
The sound of my alarm was like needles stabbing my ear drums. For a split second I wondered why the hell it was going off at 3:00am. That’s when I realised I was not in my warm bed–I am hundreds of miles away from it, far away from comfort. I’m squeezed in the back of my cold and cramped SUV. My muscles ached from the awkward position I was in all night. As I looked up through my panorama sunroof I saw a clear, and star lit sky. It then dawned on me I needed to get moving! I blasted through the dirt and gravel road in a mad rush, “I cannot screw this us! I came so far and this is my one shot!” I repeated to myself. The dark road came to a T-intersection with UT-128 along the Colorado River. It looked unrecognisable in pitch black. None the less, I sped down the road as if I were trying to win a Formula 1 race. I blazed past speed limit signs suggesting 35mph, avoiding the cliffs to my right while looking at my clock, “Damn, it’s already 3:30am!”
Finally, I reach my destination, Arches National Park. I didn’t know what to expect… after all, I’m just a guy who grew up on the east coast. I flew down Arches Scenic Drive, drifted onto The Windows Road, and pulled into the first parking space I could find. I jumped out of my car and approached the subject with a furious pace down the trail. I never knew what complete silence sounded like. The thought of being completely alone in this foreign place was the most eerie feeling. That’s when I came face-to-face with an enormous red eye starring directly at me. At this moment, I felt peace. This is what I had come for.
After taking photos at the North Window the clouds started to move in, so I decided to head back. Before leaving the park I saw a clearing and had to make one more stop for a shot. I pulled down a long and winding road along with Colorado River. “I have completed what I came for”, I thought. Days of planning and research culminated into a single moment. The sun was starting to rise, which gave life to the enormous red wall faces that were staring into my soul.
This really was a bitter sweet ending to another adventure as I continued down the narrow road. And as I was leaving Moab, I felt like there was a piece of me that will forever remain here in the Wild West. It took me in and showed me its beauty. I found myself constantly turning my head to catch one last glimpse on the drive out. I swear the Wild West was signalling me to come back.
For now though, I was taking the long and lonely road home.
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