Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Big Digital (Finally) Visits Arches (Day 1 of 2)

I swear I've been meaning to go down to Moab and see Arches National Park for at least 3 years, maybe more, and the number of times I've been invited to go and have either already had plans or had something come up or whatever, is probably in the double digits now.  Anyway, this past weekend, after all those years of not going, I finally went! And it was amazing. Even with 100+ degree heat in the middle of the day when we were out hiking around.  I was giving my parents a hard time about not taking us there ever. They had both been with their own families but never got around to taking us. My dad said we just liked the accommodations better in southwestern Utah. And granted we did have some good times in St. George, so I can't complain TOO much. :)

Anyway, Thursday after work, Julie came over, and we loaded up my car and then stopped in Draper to pick up Tandy, and then we headed out.  Most of the drive down was pretty uneventful, though the full moon was spectacularly gorgeous and I enjoyed the scenery since I've never really driven down to Moab (I did go there twice in high school for football, once to play there, and once on a longer drive down to Blanding).  I've driven to St. George enough times that I'm kind of used to that drive and probably don't appreciate the red rock beauty as much as I might.  Anyway, the change of scenery was nice.

Once we got to Moab, we still had another 45 minutes or so of driving left to do, on an unpaved, sometimes rocky road out to Forest Service land where Garrett had found us a campsite with a fantastic view. Of course, when we got there at 11:00 at night, mostly they just told us to be careful not to fall off the cliff. :) Oh, and the last 100 yards or so got pretty rough, and at one point I may have left a bit of my undercarriage behind. (I'm sorry, baby). I guess that's what I get for taking a sedan out into the wilderness. :)  Thankfully nothing started leaking and I've since driven a good 400 miles without noticing any issues, so hopefully I dodged a bullet there.

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So much for "no trace" camping. :)

We got up bright and early Friday morning, ate breakfast, packed up some lunch, and headed out. Half the group (Garrett, Alicia, and Val) was there to mountain bike, and the other four of us (Julie, Tandy, Melissa, and myself) drove back into town and headed over to Arches.

Castle Valley
The view from our campsite. Literally a few feet away from our spot.

On the recommendation of those who had been there before, we spent the day hiking around Devil's Garden, at the far end of the park. There's a fun trail that starts out fairly easy out to Landscape Arch, and then has some "funner" sections to get up to see a few more arches (Partition and Navajo), and then another decent hike out along a ridge to get over to Double O Arch.

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Ready to get hiking

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch. And me.

Partition Arch
Hanging out at Partition Arch.

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Just one of the many, many cool rock formations to be seen.

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This one even had people inside it. :)

Navajo Arch
At Navajo Arch

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The view from the ridge we hiked across

Double O Arch
Stopping at Double O Arch. If you look close (or look at the larger version on Flickr) you can see some people up on top who had just walked across it as we got there. Not sure how they got up there.

Double O Arch
I went down for a closer look, though you can't see the lower O well in this shot.

We found a shady spot there and ate our lunch (Julie went on without us to check out something called "Dark Angel" that she said wasn't worth the extra distance), rested for a bit, and then made our way back to the beginning and headed back into town.  Stopped for chocolate milk and candy bars before heading back to camp, dropping off my car, and piling the 7 of us into Garrett's XTerra for another bumpy ride up to a lake that he knew about. After being so hot all day, a swim sounded nice, but by the time we got there, it was evening and cooler and the sun was down, so I didn't get in, and I don't know if the others did either. I was pretty beat from our hike (We did a good 4 or 5 miles at least), and just ended up at the picnic table reading a book while the others explored around the lake for a few minutes.  We roasted some hotdogs for dinner and sat around the fire for a while, before eventually heading back to camp and calling it a night. Definitely slept good that night.


Brenda said...

So jealous! I love arches. The view from your campsite is gorgeous.

Kimberli said...

What great pictures! Can't wait for part 2!