Arches National Park

 

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The far mesas and distant eroded, striated cliffs on the desert drive to Arches National Park were striking.

Roadside scenery.
Roadside scenery.

When we arrived at Arches, the park ranger advised us to quickly secure a camping spot.  He told us of a couple sites nearby, and his favourite, “Moonflower.”  The road to these campsites was directly alongside a river in a gorge of red sandstone.

Campsite gorge.
Campsite gorge.

To get to the campsite he recommended, we would have to hike 3 miles!  We settled for a spot alongside the river.  That evening, the weather was so perfect, Adam slept on top of the picnic table under the endless stars!

Three Judges.
Three Judges.

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Since we still had some daylight left after grabbing a campsite, we headed back to Arches, and explored the park by car.  We got out to hike a trail called “Wall Street,”and instead of retracing our steps, I thought it might be closer to walk back on the road.  Wrong!!!

Instead of retracing the trail, we took the much longer route on the road.
Instead of retracing the trail, we took the much longer route on the road.

Adam thought he would like to skate the gently winding roads we had just walked, so he duct-taped the camera to a stick for a self-made Go Pro.

There were several landmarks we wanted to see.  Balanced Rock,

Balanced Rock.
Balanced Rock.

Delicate Arch (road closed due to past rain), Landscape Arch.

Our goal was Double O Arch, which was a varied and primitive trail, following rock cairns most of the way.  It was a challenging hike, clamboring up and walking along rock fins, scrambling up walls, and trudging through rocky, sandy, juniper areas.

The trail to Double O Arch was challenging but fun.
The trail to Double O Arch was challenging but fun.
Double O Arch.
Double O Arch.

Afterwards, Adam and I agreed this was the best hike, because it seemed like “exploring” hiking, and was so varied and interesting.  We had fun climbing around Double O for a while, and managed to see Landscape Arch as the late evening sun was dipping below the rock faces.  It’s helpful that it doesn’t get dark until 9 PM!

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch

I was fascinated as the early morning light played over the top of the river canyon where we stayed, and gradually spread it’s golden rays down the face of the gorge. Since Adam had slept outside, he was up early too.  We broke camp, and headed towards Bryce Canyon.