Monday, May 27, 2019

Arches National Park

Gopher Flats
May, 2019
Moab, UT

In 1929, when President Hoover signed the proclamation to establish Arches National Monument, the park only included the Windows and Devils Garden sections...4,520 acres.  

Since that time, the parks boundaries have expanded several times to a whopping 76,679 acres.  Although Arches has been under construction for millions of years Congress changed the status to a National Park in 1971.   

I will never forget our first drive through Arches back in May 2013...a jaw dropper for sure !  I still have the same excitement today. 

With Arches practically in our backyard and being here for the amount of time we are, visiting this red-rock wonderland is often on the list of things "to-do" from week to week.

Whether it's just a drive or enjoying a hike, it's a beautiful destination.  We have already spent several mornings taking in the colors, shapes, and forms that excite the "aesthetic" senses.      

With over 2,000 natural arches, soaring spires, and massive fins, Arches makes for a beautiful drive and fun hiking.  Did you know that Arches has "the world's largest concentration of natural arches in the world"? 

Double Arch is "close-set pair" of natural arches.  In fact, the arch in front has the tallest opening of any arch in the park...112 feet...and it's the second longest arch in the park. It is a short walk from the parking area to see Double Arch up close.

Delicate Arch is the most famous arch in the park (and maybe the world).  

It's a 3 mile round trip hike to see the arch...a hike Joe and I have enjoyed at least once (sometimes more) every year that we have been in Moab. Yep, we like it !  

I don't always walk down to the arch, but this day I felt very confident and brave.

The key to us enjoying our hike to Delicate Arch is getting an early start.  We are on trail by 7:00 am making this our all time favorite breakfast spot !

While Delicate Arch is the most famous arch, our favorite hiking in Arches is the Devils Garden section. 

The trail begins as an easy wide  gravel path with a side trail to Tunnel Arch and Pine Arch (which we have done several times, but not this day).  

At just under a mile, the path winds its way to Landscape Arch. Landscape Arch is the longest arch in the park...even the Western Hemisphere.  The Natural Arch and Bridge Society now considers it to be the fifth longest arch in the world having measured the span a 290.1 feet.

After admiring Landscape Arch, the fun begins !  The trail becomes difficult as it climbs steeply up and on the sandstone fins.

Shoes with good grip are a must as the footing is rocky with narrow ledges and steep drop-offs...a combination that really gets the heart pumping !  From this point to Double O Arch it is about 2.5 miles.

This time of year, the trail that winds its way to Double O Arch is very colorful.

 Double O Arch is the second largest arch in the NP.  The top arch has a span of 71 feet stacked on top of a smaller arch with a 21 foot span.  Both are part of the same sandstone fin. 

After our breakfast snack, we took two side trails as we made our way back to Landscape Arch.  First to Partition Arch.

Partition Arch is often overlooked as it is not as famous or big as other arches.   The views through this arch are spectacular and its low profile allows for an up close look.  

The second side trail we took was to Navajo Arch.  
Navajo Arch is one of our favorite little arches along the Devils Garden Trail.  It is more like a mini tunnel than an arch as the ground cuts right thru it.  

The entrance to the arch... 

opens up to a nice little retreat with lots of shade and much cooler air. 

Both these side trails add about a mile to the overall distance.  If time or energy isn't an issue, the side trek to see both these arches is worthwhile.  

This catches us up on our adventures in Arches.  We LOVE our backyard !  So until next time...


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Beautiful Views !

Gopher Flats
May, 2019
Moab, UT

The other day while Wile E. (our 1988 YJ) was visiting Grand Tire Pros, Joe and I walked the few blocks of Main Street...downtown Moab.  

Moab has added a few more pieces of art and the roses this time of year smell heavenly.  

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast at the Diner and had a leisurely stroll through Back of Beyond Bookstore.  It's a quaint little store and very well stocked.  I bought two books...Birds of Utah and Sandstone County Wildflowers.

A few days ago, we joined Dee for a ride on the north loop of Steelbender.  As we began the morning, the skies were partly cloudy.   
The beginning of the trail...

But as the minutes ticked away, the skies turned to all cloudy.  We could see the rain in the distance and the air got considerably cooler.

We carry ponchos, but luckily it only drizzled a little bit.  Even when it is cloudy,  it is beautiful !

MFFW planned a Hwy clean-up for May 11th.  We have a section of Hwy 191 just north of Arches NP which we clean  every spring and fall. 

It usually takes a couple of hours and afterwards we always have a trail planned...all work and no play makes for a dull day !  So after our 2 mile roadside hike, it was off to do Rusty Nail.  Rusty Nail is challenging and exciting.  It is also a belly flopper and beautiful.  The air this day was crystal clear and the colors surrounding us were vibrant and sharp.  I didn't get any trail shots, but snapped these two with my phone as were climbing up Gemini Bridges Rd on our way out.   

Yesterday, we joined Dee, a group of five from Washington, a couple from Colorado, and a guy from Arizona on Behind the Rocks.  

BTR is fast becoming a favorite...maybe it was just the mood I was in and the great group we were with.  Yesterday was just plain fun ! (OK, so I'm not hard to please and I say that alot !) It's quite beautiful too with a combination of vistas that go on and on for miles and miles and wildflowers in every color of the rainbow and beyond. 

 Can you believe that gorgeous blue sky?  

Dee and Joe and I were so blown away by fields of Pale Evening Primrose.  None of us had ever seen so many.  Both side of the trail were almost looked like snow !
Dee was our leader.  I don't think I will ever learn my way around BTR.  There are so many intersections and ways to go.  

There are several ways...from mild to difficult... to run BTR with intersections everywhere.  It's still very confusing to me.  The Gate Keeper, a little warm up of what's to come,  lures you in, but that's not all.  Some obstacles like High Dive, and Up Chuck have legal bypasses, but there are many other large ledges both ascending and descending that  do not have names or bypasses.   We did a difficult route which took us out to White Knuckle Hill where we stopped, turned around, and then headed out the way we went in.   

This is High Dive...its alot bigger than it looks.  Dee spotted Sunny (from Arizona and the only buggy in our group) down.  The rest of us took the bypass !

Dee starts down the High Dive bypass...
WileE climbs Up Chuck...
Tyler and wife Aubrey ace a very tippy tall ledge where hugging the driver side wall is key...
One of my favorite sections is a short chute that Dee calls the Roller Coaster.  We followed Dee and behind us were Tyler, Sunny, and the gang from Washington.

Finally, the Prickly Pear are beginning to bloom.  

Well, I'll close for now.  I hope you enjoy your view where ever you are.  It's a beautiful country some of us call home and others come to visit.  So, until next time...