This is the weirdest and creepiest place I have ever been…the Cosmos Mystery Area located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, on our way to Mt Rushmore. Rather it was pretty cool to get disillusioned by the things happening inside this small shack. The area seems to defy gravity. Water runs uphill, tennis ball boomerangs back, shorter people looks taller and vice versa, people are not able to stand straight for some weird reason…
We saw the sign board on the way and decided to give it a try hoping to experience something new. It was raining slightly that day and the road leading to the area too wasn’t very appealing.
Fortunately, the dirty muddy road came to an end and we saw a small gift shop and some trees strangely bent in a particular direction.
There was a gift shop at the entrance which sold the tickets for the. The guide explained to us that there is some sort of unexplainable vortex in the area that affects the trees and the buildings and everything around. She also gave us a brief historical background to the place as to how two college boys first discovered it in 1952 while searching for a place to build a summer cabin. They felt an unbalance in the environment and investigated it. Laws of gravity seem to have lost its balance in the area. Soon it was open for public viewing and has continued till date.
We are led to a tilted shack where things seemed to defy gravity. At the entrance of the shack the guide pours some water onto a tilted board and instead of flowing down as it normally should, it flows up the board. The whole thing seems to be mind boggling and unbelievable but everything was presented in a fun way and we enjoyed all through.
Then as we enter the shack we feel something strange pulling us in a particular direction. Everyone struggles to stand upright but is unable to do so. I suddenly feel slightly dizzy but we all are giggling and laughing and trying to click some pictures. We all held to the railings at the side of the wall trying to move steadily but we all seem to be drunk. A tennis ball is thrown sideways but it comes back to the person.
Everyone gets a chance to try to stand straight at the wedge of a wall but we all look weirdly tilted. We seem to be ready to fly or fall headstrong on the floor. But strangely some invisible force seems to pull you up as if you are in space.
The balancing chair was the most interesting one. A child is asked to sit on a chair which is placed on the tiny ledge with only the back legs. It’s truly amazing to see how the chair didn’t topple over but remained suspended by its rear legs alone.
We are then led to a level plain outside the shack and asked to stand according to our heights. One tall person is asked to stand on one side of a plain and a shorter one on the other. Then they exchange sides. Strangely, they seem to have either increased or decreased in height…the most credible illusion I have ever seen.
Of course there must be some reasonable answers to these strange phenomenal occurrences but we preferred to believe the guide and not spoil the fun of it by trying to get deep into the secret of whatever the reality is. It was an amazing experience and one truly not to be missed.
“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” ~ Frank A. Clark
Arches National Park, located approximately 7 miles north of Moab, in the high desert country of Utah, contains the largest known concentration of natural stone arches in the world.
Established in 1929 as a National Monument, and gained National Park status on November 12, 1971, the Park encompasses some 77,379 acres and contains more than 2000 natural arches. With its very distinctive rock formations, Arches national Park is one of the most unique and exotic place to visit in the US.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit this incredibly breath-taking place twice and hope to visit again in the future. The entrance of the park has a dramatic feeling of Jurassic park. It is located only 5 mi (8 km) north of Moab, along Hwy 191.
I was awestruck by the innumerable rock formations towering different levels. I could only marvel at the landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures. The rock layers reveal millions of years of deposition, erosion and other geologic events.
We drove along the scenic park highway which is 18 miles long and connects all the major viewpoints and trailheads within the park. Throughout the journey my camera clicked nonstop as the multitude of red rocks posed in front of me in different forms all along the way. The park is filled with enough fins, spires, hoodoos, towers, arches, windows, and other “miracles of nature” to keep your jaw dropping all day. I didn’t want to miss a single moment of the trip.
The first point we stopped at was Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers – monolithic spires and ridges of rock standing isolated in largely flat terrain. The first visitors said they were reminded of the famous Park Avenue of New York. All of the distinctive arches and formations in the park have earned names befitting their shape, including Courthouse Towers, Window Arch, Skyline Arch, Balanced Rock and the infamous Delicate Arch whose image adorns the Utah license plates.
From Balanced Rock, a paved road leads to the Windows Section of the Park. This area features the Cove of Caves, Parade of Elephants, Turret Arch, the North and South Window Arches, and the fabulous Double Arch. While the arches are visible from the road, they are best viewed from the short walking trails leading from the parking areas.
The delicate arch is the most famous of all in this park and it is the iconic symbol found on just about every book, brochure, and guide ever written about Arches National Park. On my first trip, last December, I and my husband hiked through the 3 miles round trip trail though at that time I was suffering from severe back pain. I believe the excitement of the moment helped me to get through it all when I think about it now. There is no shade which makes the hike difficult in summer and so all are advised to take at least a liter of water with them.I also suffer from height phobia but I managed to climb through the slickrocks and gravel paths enjoying the terrific views below.
The first half-mile is a wide, well-defined trail. We followed the marks of the trail all along. But as we reached the top the path was very snowy and narrow and I was gripped by sudden fear of height. I screamed at my husband for taking me there but quickly calmed down and decided to continue.
It was a real challenge for me to go through the narrow snowy path by the side of the cliff which is just about 200 yards.
The arch is not visible till the last step but the very first view of it is truly spectacular. It leaves a strong impact on you which make the hike worthwhile.
The breathtaking view of the arch erased away my fear of height and I started enjoying the grandness of this iconic structure.
The immense size of Delicate Arch is not immediately noticeable; it only becomes apparent when someone walks closer to the formation. The view of the La Sal Mountains as the backdrop adds majesty to the scene.
There is a shorter Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trail for those who can’t make the longer hike but from that trail you can only see the arch from across the canyon. However, the true grandeur of the delicate arch can only be appreciated by standing right under the massive arch.
From the Delicate Arch turnoff, the Park road travels past Fiery Furnace and Skyline Arch to end at the Devils Garden trailhead. The devil’s garden trail is the second most popular destination in the Arches.
We could not make to this part of the park due to time restrictions but hope to make it some other time in the future.
The hundreds of photos that I clicked there help me relive the enchanting moment and brings back the desire to go back again.
Come watch with me the shaft of fire that glows
In yonder West: the fair, frail palaces,
The fading Alps and archipelagoes,
And great cloud-continents of sunset-seas.
-Thomas Bailey Aldrich