David and I spend the Saturday hiking to an obscure canyon of of South Draw in southern Capital Reek National Park. The 7.5′ topo map for this area, indicated a “natural arch” there — though we have been ‘skunked’ by this kind of map label before.
After a rough drive down a jeep trail and a hard climb through broken country, we reach the spot designated on the map only to find a large overhanging rock and no arch. There are no game trails into that area so we guess that the canyon was a dead end. We started to explore the area and quickly find a nice class B arch just around the corner. The map apparently had the location off by a few hundred feet.
In the deep alcove under the arch, footprints would have been protected for many years but there are none. We do find the site of a very old camp fire though.
We continue exploring the canyon until a slot canyon becomes too narrow for my claustrophobia. However, we do see a large area of ‘arch country’ slickrock sandstone in the distance that we will need to explore someday.
After exploring a bit of this kind of country, there is no doubt in my mind that there are many undocumented natural arches out there. And THAT sounds like a challenge to me!