Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back To The Program

Since this was our last day in Moab, we headed back to Arches National Park with plans to hike in the Devils Garden section.  A great plan - we started early, we had plenty of water, we had snacks for the trail.

The first part of the trail is easy.  Mostly level and 'paved' with crushed rock.  The highlight of this trail is Landscape Arch, which is the longest natural arch in the world.  It is amazing!
That is the turnaround point for most people.  Not for us - we continued on the primitive loop.  And by primitive, I mean there was no nice 'paved' path for us to follow.  No fencing to protect us from steep dropoffs.  This hike was an adventure.
We only got lost once:)  In the desert, rock cairns mark the trail.  Someone had knocked one down and we soon found ourselves on the edge, literally.  We could see the trail below about a 100' drop!  We had to backtrack until we found the trail.  As we re-found the trail, another couple of hikers that knew the trail were in the process of rebuilding the cairns.
We hiked across rock fins about 4-5' wide with huge dropoffs on each side.  We jumped from ledges.  Well, Vol Fan jumped.  I would sit down and scoot to the edge and then 'jump' holding his hand.  We hiked thru sandy washes.  We scrambled up rock faces.  And we sweated.  A lot! 
It was a memorable hike!  And about 1/3 of the way in, we realized that we had not put on sunblock.  And the sun is brutal in the desert!  But the views we had were amazing.  See that big dent in the rock face with the two small holes...
That is where we sat and cooled off.  Wow, what a view!
There were fun little holes to crawl in.
And lots of little holes to imagine a whole race of people living in.
And nice cool alcoves to sit for a picnic.
And views after views after views....
And mile after mile of sun beating down on our unprotected skin!  We were toast!  Once we reached the trailhead, we just sat in the truck with the air blowing on us for a while.  Then we decided that Pasta Jay's was once again the perfect place for a meal.

We had plans to rest around camp for the remainder of the afternoon and return to the park for a sunset hike to Delicate Arch, the state symbol of Utah.  After resting, we decided that we had not had enough rest to do the 3-mile hike.  But we returned to the park anyway for some sunset photographs.  We were glad that we did not do the hike as clouds rolled in!
I still got some good shots.  And missing Delicate Arch gives me a reason to return!  We also had a great conversation with a couple of photographers from Florida.  They were very encouraging to a beginner.  It is always nice to meet someone like that!

And then Vol Fan realized that something was wrong, very wrong, with his truck.....


Betsy from Tennessee said...

Uh Oh----that last sentence doesn't sound good....

Love Landscape Arch... I've never even seen a picture of that one. Wow!!!!

Glad you went on the longer hike. George and I hike those 'primitive' trails when searching for some waterfalls. We finally bought a hiking GPS --and we mark our car when we begin the hike... SO--no matter how 'lost' we get, we can always find the car!!!! ha

Love all of your views... WOW!!!!

Thanks for sharing... Can't wait to see what happens NEXT.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh no....what was wrong?????

This looks like a beautiful place, and I am glad you did not jump. I still worry about your ankles, don't you???
Some Florida peeps are good. :0

Linda said...

I'm sure glad you went and took the pictures, because now I don't have to go and hike....not that I would anyway!

Hope the truck is okay!

Caution Flag said...

Is that the same vehicle that got repaired on your way to California? Yikes.

You really do inspire me! Not the sunburn or broken vehicles part, but the embracing life part.

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my gosh. I LOVE this adventure you went on. GORGEOUS. Just stunningly gorgeous!

Desert Survivor said...

I love that hike! We did it when I was about 12 years old and I remember we all thought it was crazy fun. Kudos to you for taking it, it sure isn't easy!