On today’s agenda was a trip to Arches National Park which is just north of Moab, Utah. It’s an enchanting place, and kept us busy all day hiking to and looking for various arches.
Within the confines of the park there are over 2000 documented arches in it’s 78000 acres, and in the last 40 years 43 of them have collapsed due to erosion. We tried to count up the number we’d seen today and came up with about 18, so we have a reason to come back and do some more exploring.
Arguably the most famous landmark is Landscape Arch which partially collapsed in 1991 while there were people standing underneath the span. A section of rock 60 feet long, 11 feet wide and 4 feet deep fell off in a hurry. No one was hurt, but the area underneath the span has been closed ever since. It looks pretty fragile today as it has a fault line running across the arch but who knows how long it will last. As the smart boys figure the arches are up to 60 million years old, it will probably outlast us.
We spent over 7 hours exploring the park from the Visitor Center to the Landscape Arch, and if we had more days here, I think we’d like do the same thing in reverse to see how the change in the position of the Sun would affect the look of the arches.
As well as the arches there are numerous rock formations to see, and various short hikes necessary to see the sights up close.
The first spot we hiked to was Turret Arch, as well as the North and South Window. It’s really hard to get a picture of any of the arches without a throng of people in it, as the place is very busy.
We did manage to get a picture of just the Windows by walking around the backside of the formation on what they call a Primitive trail. It was actually in much better condition than most of the hikes we took in the Superstitions this winter.
This was the longest and most difficult hike we took today that was necessary to reach Delicate Arch. If you look close, you can see all the people climbing up the inclined SlickRock face. It was about 3 miles round trip with almost 500 feet of elevation gain, most of it on the smooth mountain side. It was a real cardiac workout to get up there.
We did meet this fella who nicely posed for pictures for quite a while. I think it’s a collared Lizard.
It was definitely worth the effort to get up to see the Delicate Arch, but I got tired of waiting to get a picture with nobody in the middle of the arch clowning around. I ended up retouching this pic to take out the people in the sweet spot.
We had numerous chances to view the La Sal mountains that are East of Moab. The highest peak is almost 13000 feet high, so it’s no wonder they still have snow on them.
Tuesday’s excursion is to the Canyonlands National Park, and we have made sure the camera is charged up for another days use. We took over 200 pictures at the Arches, and have definitely given the camera a good workout this winter as we’re up over 2000 total pictures. We’ll try and post some more pictures when we get home, as the Internet service here in the park is spotty at best.
The area around Moab is an off-roader’s dream from the looks of it. It’s not a big town by any means, but there are more places where you can rent any off-road vehicle you could think of than any place else we’ve been. You have your choice of anything from a dirt-bike to an ATV, or from a Jeep to a Hummer. As in most places in the desert, if you get off the highway you have way more access to amazing sights and pretty pictures, so I guess they’re catering to the adventurous crowd.