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When I told Emily we would be visiting the most famous arch in America, she sort of looked away like she does when I mention that I played Dungeons and Dragons in middle school or that I wore only sweatpants until 6th grade. To reach it, you have to hike up long flat outcroppings of sandstone slickrock, following a trail marked out by cairns, or piles of stones stacked by park rangers and sweaty hippies as a public service.
Delicate Arch sneaks up on you. We climbed up a path that clung to the edge of a cliff, when we turned a corner and suddenly stumbled into it. It is much larger than it appears on Utah license plates and Ken Burns documentaries. Our sense of discovery was sabotaged by twenty teenage schoolgirls wearing a variety of sweatshirts for colleges they clearly were too young to attend, giggling and gossiping. Two scavenging ravens flew with the group as it walked past us away from the arch. Fun fact: Ravens mate for life, so whenever you see one you can usually find its mate nearby. They were following the food. Or the girls were all satanists.
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