Monday, August 11, 2008
Sometime earlier this week, Wall Arch at Arches National Park in Utah fell. An arch is a natural formation made by wind and Arches NP was full of them, hence the name. Some parks may have one or two arches, but Arches had them all over. It was like being in a Road Runner cartoon. The dessert really looked like the cartoons, which was a bit of a surprise for me, having grown up in Florida. I visited Arches in the summer of 2000. It was to be the first of future annual hiking trips with my friend D. We were a little over ambitious, this being our first trip and all, though we still had a blast.
I flew into Las Vegas and D and I packed up Big Red, her pick-up, and drove the 452 miles to Moab, UT. I don’t think we realized how long the drive was. I remember it being very late, like 11 pm when we rolled into town. It was too late to find a campground, but we did find a hotel, that looked like log cabin, to crash for the night. The next morning we drove the short trip to Arches. It’s a huge, sprawling park and you can see quite a bit from the comfort of your car. But not us, we wanted to hike! We picked the “Devils Garden” trail where we saw Wall Arch along with Navajo, Partition, Landscape, Double O and Private Arches. Devils Garden was a 7.2 mi hike and it was blistering hot so the name was appropriate. There were cool narrow ledges and fins to walk on and of course, lots of arches. The next day we took a rafting trip on the Colorado. It was perfect after a long hot day of hiking. We spent more time out side the raft, drifting along the gentle current (much calmer than down by the Grand Canyon). It was hot and because we had to wear life jackets, all you had to do was bob along. There were a few rapids, which made for some excitement. Next day we were back at Arches, visiting Delicate Arch. Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights. Our next destination was Horseshoe Canyon where the promise of spectacular petroglyphs awaited us. It’s in the next park over, Canyonlands NP, but in a remote part not accessible from the main park. It was a bit of drive, off the highway and across unmarked, unpaved washboard “roads.” We met with our first primitive campsite. There was a vault toilet and nothing else. Our previous two nights of camping was at a cozy private campground with a store, pool, showers, etc. so this was quite a change. We were the only people there in the middle of nowhere. Things were fantastic until after sunset. Then we got a little freaked. We didn’t sleep much so we were up bright and early for the hike. A ranger was supposed to be leading a hike that day but we got started before they arrived and only saw two other people the whole day. The next day we spent driving to Bryce National Park where we spent a day or two. (See what I mean about being over ambitious? We now spend each trip at one park.)