Moab, then back to Arches National Park, Day 2

Moab Travel Blog

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At the visitor's center

I don't remember the name of the campground we stayed at, but it was right on the main drag in the middle of Moab. We had no problem finding a campsite with room, despite the fact we got there late last night.  We did have a problem getting to sleep, however, because some dolt was doing mechanical work on his truck till well past midnight. This is a place to sleep, not an auto repair facility!  When we got up, we cleaned and reorganized the truck, and Tyler and I emptied out the cooler and washed it, since our site had a water spigot. It was full of soggy paper labels that had washed off the bottles and jars in the melted ice! After cleaning the truck and cooler, we hit the showers to clean ourselves, then headed back into town. 

The first order of business, before returning to Arches, was to find a new memory card for the camera.

"Park Avenue"
  The "memory card full" indicator had come on as we were returning from Delicate Arch last night...I'm glad we had enough memory to get those shots!   I had brought four  1G memory cards on this trip, and now they were all full!! We drove around a little, finally we found a Radio Shack.  Hopped in, found what I needed, and we were back on the road in 5 minutes, with enough rooom in the camera now for the rest of our trip!

We returned to Arches National Park, able to enjoy a leisurely drive to all the sights, now that we were no longer under the pressure of the setting sun.   We spent some time at the visitors center, got our passport stamps, and headed on down to the trails!  Our first stop was Park Avenue and Courthouse Towers, huge monolithic spires so named because they look almost like big city buildings in New York!  This spot was also featured in the movie Thelma and Louise.

Petrified Sand Dunes
 I'm sure plenty of old westerns were filmed in this area as well.  We continued on down the road, stopping at a viewpoint that featured ancient petrified sand dunes.  The dunes had been covered by sediments, and hardened into Navajo sandstone from the pressure and calcite deposits.  Eventually the sediments eroded away to reveal the now petrified dunes, not unlike Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park.

The next stop we came to was Balanced Rock, so named because...well, just look at the pictures!  It is interesting how these fragile-looking yet very sturdy formations can be created by erosion of just wind and rain and temperature.  There was a little trail around the rock, so it could be viewed at all different angles.

Balanced Rock
  The path was also littered with several cairns built to mimic both balanced rock and some of the arches.  Tyler took the time to build one to add to the collection.

Not far past Balanced rock was the road to the "Windows" section, and the various arches and attractions there, such as Parade of Elephants, Turret Arch, and North and South Windows.  We were trying to stay one step ahead of a tour bus that had been following us, but they caught up to us around this section.  There was a large group of Asian tourists on this bus, who walked the trails very fast because they were probably on a time constraint...too bad the tour operator couldn't just let them relax and enjoy the views...how often do you get to visit a place like this!   Many of the bus tourists were wearing hats and jackets.

"The Windows"
..despite the fact it was close to 100 degrees!   (Maybe they were walking fast to get back to the air conditioning on the bus!)   We felt sorry for an older woman who was wearing too many layers, and having a hard time keeping up with the rest of the tour group.  That's a good way to get heatstroke!  Under no such time pressure ourselves, we spent some time hiking and taking photos around the Windows Arches....not heading back to the truck till we ran out of water!

After thouroughly exploring the Windows section, we went to the nect stop, the Firey Furnace Viewpoint.  It was starting to feel like a furnace by now!   There are a series of trails and canyons here, but it is not recommended that you go down them alone unless you are very familiar with the area.

Fiery Furnace area
  They have ranger guided hikes here, and you can buy tickets in advance.  We just continued on down to the next arches!

We stopped at a few viewpoints for pictures, but our next hike was from the Devil's Garden Trailhead.  This is a level hike leading to some of the more famous arches in the park, such as Landscape and Double O Arches.   There were a lot of cars in the parking lot here, and a lot of people on the trail.  We loaded up with fresh water bottles and headed out!   I was looking forward to seeing Landscape Arch, one of the largest and most flimsy of the arches here in the park.  At the visitor center, we saw a video of a large piece of this arch actually falling off several years ago.  It had rained for several days, soaking the porous sandstone.

Landscape Arch
  Visitors heard creaking, cracking and groaning noises coming from the arch, trained their cameras on it, and actually filmed a large piece break off from the underside! The remaining arch is very thin now, and barely looks like it can support itself.  The Park Service has closed off the trail that used to run below the arch, now you have to go around it.  The rangers say this arch is in the last stages of its existance, and someday we may see it no more!  

There are plenty of Arch trails here, as well as canyons, trails, fins, overlooks, and dunes.   Utah has such a unique and beautiful landscape, it should definately be high on your list of places to get to, if you haven't been here already.  If you have been here, I'm sure you will want to go back someday! We spent the better part of the day here, exploring the nooks and crannys of the park.

Fins
..I'm sure we could have spent a week,  but we are feeling the pull eastward, to get Tyler back in time to start his new school!   When we finished the park, it was on towards our next destination, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado!  We followed one of the back roads through red rock canyons to the Interstate, just staying ahead of a storm that was rolling in.  Tyler got some good video footage out the back window, of the thunder and lightning storm that chased us all the way to Colorado!

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At the visitors center
At the visitor's center
Park Avenue
"Park Avenue"
Petrified Sand Dunes
Petrified Sand Dunes
Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock
The Windows
"The Windows"
Fiery Furnace area
Fiery Furnace area
Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Fins
Fins
Coming up to Balanced Rock
Coming up to Balanced Rock
The first test picture of the ne…
The first "test" picture of the n…
Painting of Delicate Arch on a roc…
Painting of Delicate Arch on a ro…
I believe this is The Courthouse…
I believe this is "The Courthouse…
petrified sand dunes
petrified sand dunes
side view of Balanced Rock
side view of Balanced Rock
people made their own balanced roc…
people made their own balanced ro…
arch cairns
arch cairns
Formations near Balanced Rock
Formations near Balanced Rock
Rear view of Balanced Rock
Rear view of Balanced Rock
one of the Windows arches
one of the "Windows" arches
Tyler relaxes under the arch
Tyler relaxes under the arch
looking up at the Windows Arch fro…
looking up at the Windows Arch fr…
I think this is Turret Arch
I think this is Turret Arch
view from beneath
view from beneath
Tyler climbs
Tyler climbs
Tyler with South Window behind him
Tyler with South Window behind him
I think this is Double Arch?  I ca…
I think this is Double Arch? I c…
They all start to look alike
They all start to look alike
umm....thats an arch!
umm....that's an arch!
overdressed tourists in 100 degree…
overdressed tourists in 100 degre…
Delicate Arch from the Delicate Ar…
Delicate Arch from the Delicate A…
Arch along the road
Arch along the road
I think this was Skyline Arch
I think this was Skyline Arch
Beginning of the Devils Garden Tr…
Beginning of the Devil's Garden T…
Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
me at Landscapec Arch
me at Landscapec Arch
very thin!
very thin!
I think this is Pine Tree Arch?
I think this is Pine Tree Arch?
Hole in the rock along the trail
Hole in the rock along the trail
Ty relaxes under Pine Tree Arch
Ty relaxes under Pine Tree Arch
Dawn didnt realize this shot made…
Dawn didn't realize this shot mad…
on our way out
on our way out
Moab
photo by: karos4