Thursday, March 31, 2005

0 Dark 30 - Thursday, March 31

Whoa, was that the alarm? We didn’t have a lot to do to get ready, make coffee & tea, pick up a bit and put the top down on the camper, it went real fast and we were able to get out of town on time. We took turns driving all day long, the book on tape kept us entertained. When we reached Lava Hot Springs Montana it was noon. We had driven the 10 miles off the highway to see if this was a place we wanted to spend the night. It wasn’t quite what we thought and it was real early so we ate lunch and drove on into the afternoon.

Dillon Montana was a good spot to find a place to rest. We drove in and followed the signs to the KOA, even though the sign on the highway said it opens April 1. Linda checked in with a lady when we arrived and she said “take any spot you want, put $10 in the night slot, the restrooms are open around the side.” The BLM sites were $10 with no power, water, or bathrooms! So there we stayed on our last night of our trip. I made dinner of chilli, eggs and cheese and we ate and cleaned up. Showers were in order for this evening and both Linda and I used as much hot water as we could. We went to bed early again. Early bed time was easy on vacation; I think I could do this every night.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Ok, I'll take the Sweatshirt - Wednesday, March 30

Yesterday was a bit much for the old knee; it is quite tender and a little swollen. Linda got up and ran with Baka for the last time in Moab. It is windy, but not too bad out there. We haven’t been freezing but have not been able to get our selves to wear shorts for our hikes. Wednesday is shopping day and we plan to hit every little shop in this bustling metropolis.

Of all the things Baka likes best, it’s shopping! He was ready as soon as we got into the Jeep. Our plan, as always, was to find a shady spot to park the Jeep and let Baka stay there while we looked about. We were able to find a place to park on the main street right in the middle of town. Baka was thrilled and immediately went to sleep. Linda and I shopped up one side of the main drag and down the other, stopping only to have a breakfast break at about 10:00 am. Shopping turned out to be more looking then anything. I bought a Slickrock Cap for $10 and Linda got her self a nice Moab sweatshirt. We found a table runner for Raina and at dinner we purchased a couple of glasses from the Moab Brewpub that we are giving to Mike Anderson. I bought a sweatshirt from the pub, like I don't have a million other sweats! That’s the entire shopping spree in a nutshell.

We drove up into Arches and looked at the views before we went back to camp.

Just Another View Posted by Hello

Our plan is a 4:00 am wake up followed by a 5:00 am departure. Linda and I got everything ready to go and we went to bed early, hoping to be able to go right to sleep.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

There's Navjo Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Gumbo Arch, Arch Shrimp - Tuesday, March 29

Linda got up early and took the dog for a run. It was raining and a little cold so Linda ran and I laid in bed while the water boiled for my coffee. As the morning moved along the rain stopped and we decided to go into Arches again and hike to some more of those wonders. We tided up Baka, mad sure he had the necessities and off we went, our destination Devils Garden. There are a bunch of arches to hike to in this area and all of them start at about the same point.

The main trail leads to Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch Posted by Hello

and a great arch called Pine Tree Arch.

Pine Tree Arch Posted by Hello

Every time we got to a different arch we waited for the clouds to part, took a picture and moved on. The traffic was not a problem and we were able to have some private viewing at each arch. One of the largest arches in the US is Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch Posted by Hello

and we hiked by the viewing area and took some more photos. We will definitely be able to show someone the arches of Arches National Park by the time we get this vacation over!

Wall Arch Posted by Hello

Wall Arch came next and then the trail split and we hiked to Partition Arch

Linda in Partition Arch Posted by Hello

followed by Navajo Arch. Each arch is different and unique, we enjoyed them all.

Navajo Arch & Bug Posted by Hello

At this point we made a decision to hike out the trail going to Double O Arch and if we got tired we would turn back. The weather was good and we felt like this would be our chance to see the area beyond the split in the trail. We were not disappointed in the least.

Fins Posted by Hello

To get to the last arch on the trail you had to walk over several of the fins that are so predominate in this park.

Linda on a Fin part of the Trail Posted by Hello

Remember what we learned in the Fiery Furnace, well this time instead of walking around the base of the fins we hiked along the top. You had to keep your eyes focused ahead of you so that you didn’t get vertigo and trip.

Fins at Double O Arch Posted by Hello

We both agreed that this was the best part of the hike and were very glad we decided to keep going.

Double O Arch Posted by Hello

Double O Arch was very unique two arches one on top of the other. At this point you can continue on the primitive trail that leads you back around and connects to the main trail, or you can turn around and hike back on the trail you came in on.

Double O Arch Posted by Hello

We chose to turn around because we were a little tired.

Linda on a Fin returning from Double O Arch Posted by Hello

This proved to be a good choice, because by the time we got back to camp we were beat. The trail back was very busy and there were a lot of hikers with kids. Once again early on the trail is a good rule to follow.

Double O Arch Posted by Hello

On the way back Linda’s pack came open and she dropped her vest. We asked several hikers if they had seen it and they said someone had put it on a bush about ¼ mile back. I hiked back and found it and we made our way back to the Jeep.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Hey,You're From Idaho! - Monday, March 28

We woke to slight cloud overcast and some upriver winds. Today was Fiery Furnace day, which could be just fine with and overcast sky. Camp was made ready and Baka was tied so he had plenty of water, food, shade and all the dog necessities. We left camp about 8:40 am and hit Arches exactly when Linda had planned.

Snow of the Butte Posted by Hello

Fiery Furnace is past the Delicate Arch turn off by about two miles. As we approached we noticed some Idaho plates on the car in front of us, in fact they were from Kootenai County. Every turnoff we figured they would leave us but they kept on leading until we reached the parking lot where we were to start our tour. They parked and we pulled in next to them. As soon as they got out of their car we mentioned the plates and that we were from Post Falls. They were from Hayden; in fact he was a teacher at Woodland Middle School. Their names were Deb and Lynn, she was a nurse, and they told us they had been coming down to this area for the past several spring breaks. It was nice to chat, but soon Ranger Ben gathered all 25 of us together and started the talk.

The area we hiked was beautiful and consisted of many fins of sandstone. These fins made a labyrinth of trails which Ranger Ben lead us through.

Ranger Ben Posted by Hello

According to Ranger Ben the fins were created by salt being deposited at the bottom of a ocean and then being covered with sediments. After a whole bunch of years the fault plains shifted and pushed up the deposited salts causing the deposited sandstone material to up heave and expose the salts to the environment. Once exposed then the salt washed away leaving the fins of sandstone. There are fins at the Fiery Furnace area and then up the Salt Valley there are fins at Devils Garden. Ranger Ben explained this much better and actually drew pictures in the sand, which he erased immediately after he was finished. This must be a Ranger Rule or something like never let anyone else see your drawings least they might know that they were wrong or something.

As we hiked with our group, we learned many things and Ranger Ben patiently answered all the questions posed to him.

Bug on the Rocks Posted by Hello

Some of the things we learned were that packrats pee on stuff making it into a hard substance that they create their home out of and their home is called a midden.

The Skull Posted by Hello

There are standards used by Arches Rangers to designate if an arch is an arch. There are nine types of arches; freestanding, bridge, and another type was mentioned. There are four tests an arch must pass to be considered an arch. They must be at least 3 feet wide in any direction.

Walk Through Arch Posted by Hello

They must be naturally made, not caused by man. They must be made out of a continuous rock, they cannot be formed by rocks tipping on rocks, and we cannot remember the last test. We hiked and Ranger Ben talked and soon we were in an area where we could see Twin Arch, it was a good place to rest and eat a bite, but soon we were off again.

Kissing Turtles Posted by Hello

Ranger Ben pointed out one of a whole bunch of stuff but there was so much I can’t write it all down.

The tour took about 2 ½ hours and we wound around for about 3 miles, but we actually never got more that a mile from our car. In fact at one point we stopped and looked at Surprise Arch

Surprise Arch Posted by Hello

and found out that we were about one hundred yards from the road we followed to drive into the area.

At the end we said good by to Bev and Lynn, hopped in the Jeep and wound our way back to Goose Island and our dog Baka. Next order of the day was to get some lunch and gas in Moab. We ate at Pasta Jays, I had the marinara on pasta, and Linda had a half sandwich and salad. It was real good and not too expensive. We tried to get our email but I could not get the laptop to cooperate. During this time Baka sat outside of the café and met about everyone in Moab. He was a big hit and of course he loved it.

We got gas and drove up river to find the NIC crew. They were about 28 miles up at a BLM site and when we go there they were playing croquet. We talked for about 45 minutes exchanging travel stories and seeing what plans each group had for the next few days. When we left they were still playing croquet, in fact they were on the same hole that they were on when we arrived. Baka got into trouble while we were there. All he wanted to do was eat cow poop and roll in every pile he could find. We had to tie him up to keep him from becoming a stink bomb for the ride home. We left the group and drove home, are dinner of left overs and went to bed, another Moab day under our belt.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Take The Primitive Trail! - Sunday, March 27

We got up early, dressed, tied up the dog and headed into Arches to do several of the hikes recommended by the forest ranger. We drove directly to the Delicate Arch parking lot. There were only three cars there when we arrived so we got our gear together, grabbed some water and started up the trail.

Wolfe Ranch Posted by Hello

The hike into the arch is a mixture of sand trail and slick rock. Total distance of the hike is 3 miles round trip so it would be a good one to warm up on

On the Trail to Delicate Arch Posted by Hello

The final 200 yards of this trail follows a ledge that drops off significantly. As we rounded the final corner our eyes were greeted by the arch.

Delicate Arch Posted by Hello

A family was standing under it so Linda and I sat down and waited for them to get their pictures and talk about their adventures. I climbed up on some sandstone ridges just above the arch and looked out over a beautiful panorama. The family quickly departed leaving Linda and I alone, something that we later found out would be rare.

Little Bug Big Arch Posted by Hello

A young couple came over the rise to join us just as I was setting up a timed photo and they were more then happy to take the picture, thus keeping me from tripping as I ran to get into the shot and falling into the endless labyrinth that surrounded the arch.

Delicate Rock Posted by Hello

They were very nice and mentioned that they knew where Coeur d’Alene was and that they had heard about the Ironman competition. We left them to enjoy the arch by them selves and started our hike back. On the way we met several groups of folks hiking in. We noticed that many of them were not prepared for hiking and were very out of shape. We talked about each group as they went by, many of then didn’t seem very happy about being in such a beautiful place. It is kind of hard to understand how this could be.

Views, Views, Views Posted by Hello

Back at the Jeep we ate some food and drank a bit of water while we set our course for the next hike, The Windows area. At the Windows parking lot we realized that we were not alone. There were about forty cars and two busses there when we rounded the corner. We parked in the lower lot and started by hiking to Double Arch a mere 8/10 of a mile.

Double Arch Posted by Hello

The busses were filled with Elderhostal people and we met them all coming back from these arches. A very different attitude greeted us as we passed the older couples. Each one greeted us and smiled wishing “Happy Easter” or a bright “Good Morning.” Much different then the younger hikers. It was fun to see them is such good spirits and full of cheer. We viewed the arches and then I hike along the base on the sandstone and went up a draw to look at another smaller arch. I spotted fresh deer tracks and some other small critter tracks that were left in the mud of the wash. I met Linda when I doubled back and we hiked back to our next destination.

We had to hike up to the upper parking lot and then find the trail head. Not a hard task being there were hundreds of people around. Two real nice people met us at the top of the stares and we talked about the hike. They suggested we take the primitive trail by way of the Turret Arch.

Turret Arch Posted by Hello

We thanked them for their suggestion and went on our way; the trails are very well made here in the National Park. We walked by Turret Arch and then headed to the South window area where we left the main trail and got on the primitive trail.

South Window from Primitive Trail Posted by Hello

The term primitive is very relative because this trail was very well maintained. Because they use the word primitive many of the hikers don’t go there.

Primitive Trail View of North Window Posted by Hello

We met one other couple on the trail going our way and we ran into a group being guided by a ranger coming the other way. The primitive trail led around the back side of the North and South Windows and all the hundreds of tourists only looked at one side so once again we had it mostly to our selves.

Bug! Posted by Hello

On the road again we traveled back in the direction of the main entrance took a couple pictures of Balanced Rock,

Balanced Rock Posted by Hello

and stopped at the pull out for the Park Avenue Trail. This trail leads up a wash one mile and gains about 361 feet in elevation.

Park Avenue Posted by Hello

We hiked it from bottom to top and then back again, we both agreed that was the way to go. It is a beautiful hike with huge spires on each side of you.

Park Avenue Posted by Hello

Back at the car we decided we had hiked enough for one day and checked out total distance per the park trail guide. Our total miles for today were seven plus, I think that was enough for the firs day.

We drove back to camp picked up the dog and went into Moab for water and a few food items. Back at camp we took showers and I cooked a Dutch oven chicken and biscuit dinner. We ate and cleaned up tired and ready for bed. It was a super day and it turned out better then we had ever imagined.