Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Arches and Aches

We left Beaver in a flurry of snow and goose bumps. Roads were clear and the sun was bright. The next few hours wound us up and over a pass and then dropped us into the area North of Moab. We kept in communication with the Anderson's bus via phone but coverage was spotty at best.

The caravan pulled into Slick Rock RV in Moab in a mood of skepticism. As we traveled Linda read the web reviews of the place and they were not good, in fact they were down right terrible. Most of then told of the run down nature of all the facilities. The rest spoke of the lack of cleaning of said facilities.  We had reserved for two nights so we felt we would give it a shot.

They assigned us two sites together and we parked and got set up.  Exploration showed that the place was run down but they had cleaned the bathrooms so all was good for us. The landscape around the camper was red dirt, there was not a blade of grass to be found. The place would do for our two days.

We had dinner with the Anderson's and made plans for the next day.  The troupes would squeeze into Earl's tow car and we would explore Arches National Park,Tuesday.  With plans set we all faded off to bed.
Tuesday we got up and ate breakfast, hitting the road about 8:00 AM.

Our one day wind tour of the park started at the visitors center where Julia got all the information needed to become a Jr. Ranger. Then we picked up a park map an made the decision to drive into the park to the Delicate Arch and hike their first.

Back in the car and on the road we got our first taste of the beauty of this natural wonder.  I can't even explain how cool the rock formations are, I could never do them justice.  We looked about as we drove and got a good feel for the area.  Many questions were formulated, but the answers would have to wait until we returned to the visitors center at the end of the day.

Earl's Saturn seats 7 Mexican style.
At the Visitors Center we had made the decision to drive to the Delicate Arch first so that we could all do that hike first.  That is where we unloaded and that is where we stared our first very windy hike of the day.  The trail was dotted with hikers everywhere.  This would not be an experience in the solitude of these mighty arches, we would be sharing the experience with many visitors.

Delicate Arch is a round trip of about 3 miles, the trail starts out flat, gains some serious elevation and then levels out at the arch its self.  Linda and I led the way and when we crested the last bit of hike we were hit with a blast of wind that could almost knock you down.  The wind rushed over the rock face and struck you hard as you came out into the open.  However, once you climbed over the face and moved along the bowl of the area the wind was much more manageable.

Linda hiked to the arch first and I took some pictures, then she returned and I climbed out to the famous photo spot of Delicate Arch.  We were impressed that people were courteous and would wait in the distance allowing you to get a photo of the arch with no one in the shot.  The wind prevented many hikers from going directly to the arch. It took a bit of nerve to climb the short distance to the area where the wind was blocked, so we were able to get a few good shots.

The Anderson’s arrived on the ridge and we took photos of the bunch. Earl had made the hike up the steep hills and was very excited to see the arch. Once we rested and took a bunch of pictures we returned to the car.  The hike back was down some steep slick rock and by the time we were back to the start we had some sore knees and feet.  The wind was blowing sand and grit around the entire hike so all of us could feel the grit on our bodies.

We then drove out further into the park.  We passed the Fiery Furnace area and ended up turning around at the Devils Garden Trail head. Then we returned and stopped at Sand Dune Arch where we hiked the short distance and took some photos.  Off in the distance was Broken Arch but the wind kept us close to the car and all we got were some distant pictures of the arch.

Back in the car we stopped at several viewpoints including the Fiery Furnace but we only took pictures. Our final hike was into the Double Arch where half the group climbed and the rest of us watched.  This turned out to be Julia’s favorite area because she got to climb up to the area directly under the two arches.

As the others climbed Earl, Lorrain and I stayed down and greeted people as they came up the trail.  Earl met some hikers from the area where he fishes and within a few minutes had discovered a catering outfit that could possibly take care of the food for their daughter’s upcoming wedding.  Leave it to Earl to be in Utah, in a National Park, at the base of an arch making connections and working angles to get his little girl hitched on a dock in Washington.

Linda ducks out of the wind at Delicate Arch.
We loaded up and on our way out, we took pictures of the Cove of Caves and Balanced Rock. Then we returned to the Visitors Center where Julia watched the movie about the park as Mike and I hakey sacked with two guys in front of the building. We stopped hacking long enough for Mike to watch Julia get her Jr. Ranger badge then we squeezed back into the car and returned to Slick Rock RV.

That evening we had pizza delivered and watched a NIT semifinal basketball game on TV. Then we went to bed and the rain started.

Rayelle, Mike and Julia approach Delicate Arch.

Mike Anderson at Delicate Arch.

Linda at Sand Dune Arch.
Happy dance under the arch.
Linda photo-bombs my shot of the distant arch.
Fiery Furnace area.
Double Arch

Cove of Caves
Balanced Rock
Park Avenue, hummmmmm.
Lorraine and Earl at Park Avenue.

1 comment:

Jodi said...

We were passing thru Capital Reef National Park and stopped at some petroglyphs. There, in the middle of nowhere, I ran into a woman I used to work with who now lives in Ellensburg. Must be a Washington-Utah kind of vibe that goes on when in Utah.