Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arches National Park – Day 21, 22

After leaving the life of luxury in Denver, we headed back out into the serenity of wilderness – or to Arches National Park.  We were so excited to be back out away from the city that we meant to hike out to Delicate Arch at sunset.  However, we missed the sunset and caught the arch during the moonrise.

Arches is situated on a plateau that blocks most of the light pollution from any nearby urban areas that allows you to 7,500 stars instead of the usual (in rural areas) 2,500.  The moon was extremely bright and clouds spotted the skies preventing this miraculous display.  It was an amazingly peaceful evening regardless.

The next morning, we woke up to an overcast day to hike around the Devil’s Garden.  It contained six arches, including Landscape Arch (the longest arch in the park) and the Patriarch Arch (pictured below).  The red rocks are made of sandstone that has been eroded away at an uneven pace causing these unique rock formations.  (For more information, go to the Arches Information Page.)

The first part of the trail was fairly heavily populated before it ran into a primitive loop trail.  A lot of families (with little kids!) had climbed up the extremely steep first part of the loop to see a couple of arches that were less than half a mile away.  However, the rest of the loop was fairly empty.  You had to climb up and down the fins that lined the landscape and follow piles of rock formations to stay on the trail. 

Sandstone erodes extremely quickly and created huge muddy puddles that we had to maneuver around.  However, the rocks themselves were super slick from the rain that had started to fall on us.  We came across one puddle that we have also referred to as a pond, which Graham struggled to hug on to the nearby rock to pass.  I tried to follow in his same “just run for it” method; however, I slid down the rock on my bum to land in muddy water up to my chin! 

We hiked the rest of the loop.  We got back to the truck just in time for the sun to come out.  I was excited to change out of my cold, wet clothes.

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