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The Beauty of Utah Parks.....

Arches National Park

 

Welcome to........

Arches NP

I have been wanting to go to Arches NP for a long time. It isn't convenient to get to, so it just hadn't made the list......until now.

Arches NP

Arches was the first Utah park we visited after starting our vacation in Wyoming (Yellowstone and Grand Tetons), spending the night in Salt Lake City, and then driving to Arches. We didn't arrive until about noon, but we got started sight seeing and hiking right away.

Arches NP

While we were waiting to get into the park, we were taking in all the sights and watching some interesting tourists across the street. We didn't have a camera handy (no idea how that happened), so there is no video. A fairly large group of people had climbed to the top of a large sand dune at the side of the road. Starting at the top, they began running down and quickly picked up speed until they were out of control and rolling down the hill - sometimes end over end aka head over feet. YIKES! It looked pretty painful, but everyone got up and continued running down the hill. No one went back to the top for a second run - unfortunately.

There are huge rock formations right inside the park. They are fantastic!

Arches NP

 

PARK AVENUE

Our first stop was in the Big City? No, the tall sheer rocks that line the trail only remind us of tall buildings lining busy big city streets. It pretty impressive, just from the road. Can't wait to get inside.

Arches NP

Since this sign already has a great description, I won't try to rewrite it. I'll just share.

Arches NP

Many stopped to take a peek, but few actually ventured onto the trail.

Arches NP

Not surprising. It was extremely warm with lots of sunshine, and the initial descent into the valley was pretty steep. What goes down, must come up.

Here we go. Even though it was pretty dry, we blew through our water quickly.

Arches NP

We made it to the bottom. The trail was fairly well marked. We felt so small being all the way at the bottom and looking up at these enormous rocks.

Arches NP

We were hoping this wouldn't be the only arch we would see, but we took a picture just in case.

Arches NP

It seemed that with every few steps, the scenery changed.

Arches NP

I know it looks like we're all alone, but we did find someone to take a picture of us.

Arches NP

Nice water bottle holder.

Arches NP

We did manage to find a few blooming flowers.

Arches NP

Here's what she was shooting.

Arches NP

Lots of interesting sandstone designs.

Arches NP

I hope someone is leaving bread crumbs. This is no place to get lost!

Arches NP

I can't even imagine how that happened.

Arches NP

Let's zoom in.

Arches NP

Even though there are no arches here, this is a magnificent area.

Arches NP

Plenty of lizards - a little larger than in Florida - well, at least on our lanai.

Arches NP

A broken sandstone rock.

Arches NP

Hey! That looks pretty cool. Looks like Balanced Rock off in the distance.

Arches NP

Let's get closer.

Arches NP

Maybe just with the camera.

Arches NP

It's a long hike back, uphill, and we're out of water. Plus we have so much more to see today.

He had to add just one more rock to the stack before we headed back. This was probably a trail marker but we didn't realize it at the time. Hopefully we didn't mix anyone up. The trails were pretty obvious. Even we found our way out and back.

Arches NP

 

Our next stop was a panoramic overlook.

Arches NP

Moab, where we will spend the next 2 nights, and the Colorado River are just a few miles south of the park and La Sal Mountains, to the southeast, are about 20 miles from this lookout and are over 12,000 feet high. The park is already at an elevation of between 4000 and 5000 feet.

La Sal Mountains.

Arches NP

Looking north. I don't think this formation has a name, but it's big - staring right back at you as you gaze past in search of other more famous rocks.

Arches NP

Hopefully your eyes are better than mine. The print is tiny.

Arches NP

Slightly northwest are the Organ and Tower of Babel.

Arches NP

A little more to the northwest are the Three Gossips.

Arches NP

A closer look.

Arches NP

Watch where you step. You won't want to take out the few splashes of color that exist in the desert.

Arches NP

Almost due north about 5 miles is Balanced Rock. We definitely have to check that out.

Arches NP

 

BALANCED ROCK

It's Huge! Gorgeous with La Sal in the background.

Arches NP

It's quite larger than we expected, especially after seeing it from miles away.

Arches NP

I always like how people manage to do such fun and creative things with what would be ordinary pictures. Unfortunately, we are not those people. It doesn't stop us from trying.

Arches NP

The mountains seem closer even though we've driven north......hummmmmm

Arches NP

And taller, with the long lens.

Arches NP

It was so interesting to me that the land was so flat for quite a distance and then all of a sudden, there's a rock formation. I didn't really think about it when we were there, but I believe the valley behind the rocks and in front of the mountains is the Colorado River.

Arches NP

She's going up!

Arches NP

It's amazing how different this structure looks depending on your angle.

Arches NP

Now with the phone. Just to make sure we have every perspective.

Arches NP

I sure hope today isn't the day it rolls off its perch.

Now zoom in! What will we ever do with all these pictures??? Oh! I remember now........my husband has told our girls that they have to look at every picture we've ever taken for at least 1.5 seconds each before they can ever get their inheritance. They should start NOW!

Arches NP

We were baffled when we were there and I'm still baffled now looking at the pictures. How can it look so different? We only walked a few feet. Well, maybe a few hundred feet, but still, that's a very different look.

Arches NP

You can probably see the confusion on my face.

Arches NP

What? Can this be a completely different perspective of the same rock?

Arches NP

Better zoom in.

Arches NP

I believe off in the distance to our southeast are the North and South Windows and Double Arch, where we're headed next.

Arches NP

 

Better get to the next stop! There are still so many arches to see. We've taken about 2000 pictures inside Arches National Park and we haven't even seen an arch yet. OMG! I think that's only a slight exaggeration. Better get more film!!!! It's cheap these days, right?

Arches NP

We're Here!

Could it be? Could it really be?? An Arch?????

Arches NP

NORTH WINDOW ARCH

Wait! Wait! Wait! We're not ready for the zoom yet. Let's have a dramatic walk to the arch from the trail.

Arches NP

Can you tell that I do a lot my writing during the night, instead of sleeping? I would like to sleep. I just don't.

Arches NP

It looks so cool. I couldn't wait to get there! We did hesitate for a quick family shot.

Arches NP

Plus we had to pose for our newspaper contest photo.

Arches NP

We are headed to the North Window Arch, not to be confused with the South Window Arch. Did you know that Arches NP has over 2000 documented arches? YES! That's 2 0 0 0 with three zeros!

Arches NP

It may be hard to believe, but there were actually a lot of people there. We got lucky with no one on the sidewalk for a brief moment.

Abby played with some different angles.

Arches NP

A quick look behind, to the west, gave us a sneak peek at Turret Arch.

Arches NP

For the longest time, we could only see the North Window but I know there is a South Window here somewhere. The North is definitely more popular, maybe because it's a shorter walk.

Arches NP

Abby and I made it to the top and were waiting for a clearing of the masses for a more pleasing photograph.

Arches NP

We waited and waited and waited.

Arches NP

Well, maybe only a few minutes, and then it happened. Just like that!

Arches NP

It was worth the wait! There are a few people still, but I feel they enhance the image rather than take anything away from the beauty of this scene and the serenity of this location.

 

SOUTH WINDOW ARCH

On to find the South Window....... Hope we're not squeezing through there!

Arches NP

Found It! Abby likes us to be Bond Girls sometimes. I was totally oblivious to the request.

Arches NP

This was such a tranquil place. LOVE IT!

Arches NP

Abby offered to take a picture of us but we are not very photogenic so we usually just look goofy:)

Arches NP

Awe (deep breathe, sigh, smile) Unfortunately it's time to move on. Turrent Arch was next on the agenda.

 

TURRET ARCH

I'm glad they placed all these arches and landmarks so close together and close to the road also:) It makes seeing more a lot easier.

Arches NP

It was just a short walk. Unlike the Windows, which are long and wide, Turret is tall and narrow.

Arches NP

That's a big rock, but this is no time for hide n seek.

Arches NP

Good thing for pockets. It's too hot for backpacks.

Arches NP

From nearly Turret Arch, you can finally see both Window Arches.

Arches NP

It's a climb, but a great lookout from the top.

Arches NP

You can really tell how large this arch is with Abby in the middle.

Arches NP

 

From inside the Turret Arch rock formation.

Arches NP

You can see both Windows from within inside the Arch.

Arches NP

Vertical now.

Arches NP

This looks like a very cool book - heavy too - right along the sandy path, but we have no time to read. There's so much more to see.

Arches NP

 

About a half mile from these incredible arches, is out next adventure......

 

DOUBLE ARCH

Arches NP

We had no idea what we were in store for, and from a distance, it sure didn't look like much.

Arches NP

As we got closer, it was so much more impressive! I would even say it was W O W !!!!

Arches NP

This is now my new favorite Arches location.

Arches NP

This formation is so huge!

Arches NP

This picture doesn't show just how steep this slope is, but Abby was slipping backwards trying to get this shot.

Arches NP

Taking a rest before we climb to the arch.

Arches NP

The Double Arch is definitely a WOW! Maybe I mentioned that earlier. It's True! I never want to leave here. Well, for now.

Arches NP

Since there were people in the arch, we killed time taking fun pictures.

Arches NP

We had such a great time here. We loved exploring this arch.

Arches NP

Finally, it was our turn to climb up. It was a bit challenging, mostly because we had our camera gear, phones, and water bottles to haul up with us.

Arches NP

They climbed up first so that I could get a picture.

Arches NP

It was so incredible sitting in the arch.

Arches NP

This is the second largest arch in the park, approximately 150 feet wide by 100 feet tall.

Arches NP

The view from inside the arch.

Arches NP

We could have stayed here all afternoon. Unfortunately others wanted an opportunity to sit in the arch too, so we carefully climbed down with the help of a few people we had met while we all hung out at this fabulous place. We passed all our gear down to them and then slid down ourselves. Thank goodness for honest, kind travelers and teamwork!

 

DELICATE ARCH

Our next stop on the agenda. We only viewed it from afar. Abby's feet and hips were not up for the long hike.

Arches NP

Bummer! Because it looks so cool and is a very famous arch, especially for photographers. Maybe next time......

Arches NP

Looking south from the Delicate Arch viewpoint.

Arches NP

 

We were hot and tired so we decided to call it a day and headed out of the park and into town.

 

We spent the night in a Moab Marriott, which was nice with a nice pool too. We actually spent 2 nights at this hotel. This was the only place on this entire 2 week journey that we slept over twice. I had a feeling I would love Arches, so I wanted to make sure we had enough time to take in all the sights. You could really stay for 3 or 4 days if you want to hike to every famous arch.

Moab Marriott

The town was small, but actually larger than we expected. We visited several rock stores and purchased some rocks of course. We ate at Moab Brewery, twice, because it was yummy!

Moab

She's trying to pick out which rock to take home!

 

GOODNIGHT MOAB......so far, we LOVE it here!

 

The next morning, we got up early and headed back to Arches. We scheduled a guided tour through the infamous, dangerous, exhilaratingly adventurous.......

FIERY FURNACE

Click the image below to check out our adventure.

Arches

 

After the Fiery Furnace, we headed north, deeper into Arches for some more hiking. We hadn't planned to stop here, but it looked cool from the road.

Arches NP

SKYLINE ARCH

Arches NP

Like many of the other arches we've seen, it's magnificent!

Arches NP

We climbed on a lot of rocks, but couldn't reach anywhere near the arch. It was just too tall.

Arches NP

We had a great time anyways!

Arches NP

Love this one!

Arches NP

 

DEVIL'S GARDEN TRAIL

After leaving Skyline Arch, we drove to Devil's Garden. The parking lot was pretty crowded. This was definitely the busiest place we've been so far, even though you can't tell from this picture.

Arches NP

There are many arches along this trail but today we hoped to hike to Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. It was a very hot and sunny day, even for Floridians and we had already hiked two other areas of the park today, so we were not trying to see everything, just a few things. Where's a 4-wheeler when you need one?

Arches NP

It was long but very scenic. It is documented at just a mile hike to Landscape, but it certainly felt much longer - maybe the heat played a factor and the earlier hiking and minimal food. Not 2 minutes after wishing for a 4-wheeler or some faster mode of transportation, we rounded a corner to find the maintenance crew driving 4-wheelers. No chance for a ride though:(

Arches NP

Landscape Arch is the longest natural arch in the country spanning 290 feet or 306 feet, depending on who is measuring and where they are standing. Either way, it's quite impressive. Only Kolob Arch in Zion National Park, also in Utah, comes close at 287 feet.

Arches NP

Some rather large chunks of rock have fallen off of this great arch, a 60 foot piece as recently as 1991, leaving its center very slender and delicate which lead to the closing of the trail under the arch.

Arches NP

I think this fence is to keep us on the right trail and discourage us from walking under the delicate Landscape Arch.

Arches NP

It worked. We did not see anyone close to the arch.

Some speculate whether the arch will crumble and soon be nothing more than a pile of rocks or if shedding the extra weight will keep it around for many years to come. I hope it will be the latter, but either way, I'm so glad we saw it when we did.

Arches NP

This entire area is quite impressive to see.

We noticed a few different views walking back that we hadn't noticed while we were looking for arches.

Arches NP

This section of the park has more plant life than other areas we visited.

Arches NP

This was a very neat tucked away 'ramp'. It reminded me of a runaway truck ramp that you see along mountainous sections of the highway. We noticed it on the way out, but it had lots of people in it, so Abby said she would run up into the narrow part on our way back so that we could take a picture.

The first image is taken at ground level with a wide angle and the second image is taken with a zoom lens from a ways back on the trail and from up above. This ramp is steeper than our images show. Notice that there is no Abby.

Arches NP

Where is she? Well, her feet, legs, hips, back......were hurting and she was hot, so she thought it would be a good idea to run back to the meeting point and sit on the bench in the sun and wait for us. So off she went while we paced ourselves.

I've been a mother for 24 years and I still don't understand kids!

 

It's a Wrap. Evening was approaching and we were all tired and hot. Better head back to Moab.

This would be cool to see up close, but........as stated above.

Arches NP

A roadside photo will have to do for this trip.

Arches NP

 

Goodbye Amazing Arches National Park. Until Next Time........

One final image.

Arches NP