Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Utah Day 2 - Arches National Park

Monday morning we woke up early, with the hypothesis that if we got moving early we could beat some of the heat. Ha! There is no beating the heat when it's going to be 107F! But we did try, so that's something. We spent all day Monday at Arches National Park, which is just three miles from Moab. Arches was one of the places I was most excited to see, and I was not disappointed (Aside from being too damn hot. That was the refrain of the day.). Our first hike was to Delicate Arch, where we saw our first lizard:
Here is Delicate Arch, which is the most famous of the arches, and the one on the Utah license plates: You can get right up close and personal with Delicate Arch, which we did:It's quite large when you get some people inside for scale (Can you see us in there?): However, it's not really that delicate, at least not compared to Landscape Arch (below) which is likely to collapse relatively soon.
It's hard to tell from this photo, but that arch is over 100m wide, making it by far the largest in the park. It's also considered the longest natural arch in the world. About 10 years ago a fairly sizable (ie many tons) piece of rock fell out from the bottom of Landscape Arch. Thus, you can no longer picnic underneath. Wise decision. It was very hot, and always nice to see the end of a trail looming: We also saw some rocks with very strong elephant characteristics (use your imagination):

Do you see them? How about here? These rock formations were right near what turned out to be my favorite arch, Double Arch: We also saw Balanced Rock: In fact we saw many rocks that appeared to be balancing quite precariously, but this is the famous one and apparently the only one that warrants a name.

All in all I really enjoyed Arches, but I think I would have had an even better time if it hadn't been as hot as it was. It was also very sunny, and there really isn't much shade, so it was hard to escape the heat. It's a small park that you can certainly see most of in a day unless you want to do some serious long hikes. Most of the arches are at the end of short trails that are reasonably flat, although the Delicate Arch Trail was 3 miles roundtrip with enough elevation gain that we noticed it, especially in the oppressive heat.

Tomorrow we leave the air-conditioned condo behind as we journey to Canyonlands, where we develop a new appreciation for wide-open spaces, and learn that my parents aren't keen on their only daughter leaning over cliff edges...won't you please join us? By which I mean, please come back tomorrow, not that you should join me in leaning over cliff edges, especially if you're scared of heights.

1 comment:

Marisol said...

Wow Emily! What an amazing landscape! It looks like you both had a wonderful time hiking through the Arches:)

I think I want to go there some day and take the family:)