The Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park
GOOD MORNING UTAH!
WELCOME TO THE........
....a series of narrow passages through tall rocks and steep cliffs.
Do you think it's that pile of rocks over there?
All we know is that it is somewhere east.
To hike this section of Arches National Park, each person must be an experienced hiker and obtain a hiking permit prior to hiking or book a guided tour. We booked the Dam Tour. Oh, I mean the Furnace Tour. We watch a lot of movies and have a lot of favorites. Clark W Griswold is definitely a favorite!
Even though the trail is not long, it is winding and tricky. It is up and down, often traversing steep cliff edges, squeezing through narrow passages, or sliding or jumping over crevasses or waterholes. All in a day's FUN!
Here we go!
The first challenge, just to get into the canyon, is to squeeze through a tiny crevasse while climbing up. Our guide told everyone that at any time, if someone in our group is not able to continue then we must all turn back. YIKES! No one wants to be the weakest link! NO ONE!
Abby and I climbed up and were on our way. Al wasn't far behind us and we all stopped after a short while to make sure we were all together again and that everyone was okay. Al said 'whoever was behind me, pushed my a** right up that first narrow passage. I guess he didn't want me to get stuck so that we would all be turning back.'
That would not be our last tight squeeze of the day.
Once we got inside, the tall rock structures were amazing!
And the colors were brilliant.
I understand why it's called the fiery furnace. Some parts of the canyon had no air flow at all and on a warm or hot day, you could very easily become overheated and/or dehydrated.
High above us was a surprise arch, but not the one labeled on the map. Just a pleasant surprise:)
It is actually known as Skull Arch. Just Stunning!
This is such a cool canyon. Something new around every corner.
We were advised, by our guide and at the office where we picked up our tickets, not to take our big cameras because we would not have time to take them out for pictures. We could keep a phone handy but only if we had a side pocket on our shorts. Luckily Abby and I had fanny-packs. YAY!
All of our pictures from this tour were taken with our phones.
We had such a great time.
The hike wasn't difficult, but it wasn't easy either. It was a nice moderate hike - just as promised.
We were told to being at least 2 liters of cold water per person. We froze our bottles in the hotel frig overnight and wrapped the non-insulated bottles in foil. We guzzled often and chugged quite a bit of water. Perhaps some have never hiked in a desert in summer before......
We walked on different surfaces and used different techniques to maneuver our bodies up, down, over, under.....whatever was required. When our guide saw other hikers, he did ask to see their permits and asked them questions about their skills and experience so far.
Someone has been here before us.
This was a steep climb but everyone made it with no trouble.
We stepped or jumped, as needed.
We slid or scooted.
Our guide reminded us a little of Cliff Clavin.......He wore an official uniform, had some very strict rules, lots of interesting little facts, and no sign of a sense of humor.
Check out those calves.
Squeeze! Suck It In!
Leap Big! Don't Fall!
Balance! That was a really deep crevasse.
It's Miller Time. I mean Selfie time! No one drinks Miller!
During this shimmy, we had to sit back on the wall and use our legs to help us scoot across the gap below.
Another skinny passage. We were told that we must be able to fit through a 10" slot. We tried as best we could to skinny up before our trip!
They weren't lying!
Our guide reminded us to watch our footing, not only to keep us safe but to protect anything that was living and growing in this canyon.
Another steep climb. What a gorgeous day!
Love the tall flat rocks.
This place is just extraordinary!
Even our boots struggled to fit through this tiny space.
Hug a Rock?
The first sign we've seen.
We finally reached our rest and snack destination.
We could climb up or stay low. We all climbed high.
And then looked up!
What goes up, must come down.
What a cool looking passage way up ahead.
WOW! It was much larger than we initially thought.
And just like that, we're out of the canyon.
And ready for our next adventure.
At the end of the day, I'm glad we booked the guided tour. I feel like we got to see more and actually learn a few things. The trails were not marked so we may have been wandering around for hours trying to find our way out. I can see that some of the areas could be dangerous if you don't know how to cross the crevasses, and after following the story of Aron Ralston 'Between A Rock And A Hard Place' and later a movie '127 Hours' we didn't want to live that frightening experience.
If you do hike without a guide, once you find your way out of the canyon, head west. You will sooner or later run into the road.