National Geographic : 1955 Sep
path that we could ride no farther. After camping and eating lunch, Burnett, Bob, and I went on afoot while McKay and Jerry napped in the shadow of a cliff. Here, in lower Davis, the river has been a bold sculptor. It has twisted in a sharp loop, leaving an intervening rock wall several hundred yards long. Both sides are deeply undercut by wide alcoves, and a window has broken through the center. The window itself is more than 100 feet wide and more than 75 feet high, yet it is small compared with the width and height of the colossal beam of rock above it. Earlier, when Harlon Bement had flown us over the Escalante region, he also had circled Butler Valley, southeast of Bryce Canyon Na tional Park, to show us Grosvenor Arch. It had been named in 1948 by Jack Breed and his companions for Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, then President of the National Geographic Society and Editor of its Magazine, and now, since his retirement, Chairman of The So ciety's Board of Trustees. "One of the Escalante arches should bear the name of The Society's new President, be cause of his many years in geographic work and his personal interest in this trip," Bur nett had suggested. So to us this hitherto unnamed arch in lower Davis canyon became La Gorce Arch for Dr. John Oliver La Gorce, now Editor of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE (pages 418, 419). Arch Shaped Like an Elephant's Trunk Near a bend below La Gorce Arch we gained one of the most memorable views of the entire trip. On our left, as we looked back, towered an almost vertical wall, its streaked sides soaring hundreds of feet above us. On our right rose the curved ceiling of a gigantic alcove hewn into the wall of the narrow canyon. Where we stood, the chasm was in shadow, but beyond the arch opening the afternoon sunshine struck the rock, making it glow like living flame. The reflected light flooded the alcove and canyon walls, suffusing them with a golden red. Next morning we rode past beaver dams and through the brush to Davis's upper arch, an elephantine trunk of rock extending from the left cliff face. We found the opening to be 100 feet across by 80 feet high, with the trunklike arch ring between 100 and 200 feet thick. Atop this sandstone trunk rears a large rock knob, like the decorative boss worn by an Indian elephant on parade. "Why not Bement Arch?" I suggested. Certainly no person has been more en thusiastic in bringing the arches to outside attention. And few persons have keener interest than he in the scenic attractions of his State. Harlon Bement has flown up and down over Utah time and time again, exploring its little-known can yons, searching its des ert areas, and photo graphing its weird rock formations. So Bement Arch it became. Willow Gulch, with its Broken Bow Arch, lies north of Davis and Soda Gulches. Acces sible from the desert road out of Escalante, it will probably attract more visitors than any of the other forma tions. We found the ride into Willow less diffi cult than had been our other canyon treks. Gail Bailey, McKay's father, rode with us to see if he could take his cattle from the Esca lante through this route. Broken Bow Arch occupies a striking po sition in a broadened section of the canyon. 416 Some distance before reaching it we topped a sandy hillock and could see the formation looming boldly above the stream bed (p. 413). Like Bement Arch, Broken Bow projects conspicuously from the left wall of the can yon. The arch gains its name from a broken Indian bow found near its base; oddly enough, its shape reminds one of a bow bent nearly double. Scrambling across the boulders strewing the floor of the arch, Burnett and McKay stretched the steel tape across the opening. Its width was 94 feet. The range finder re corded its height as almost exactly 100 feet.