Before I start tonight - some housekeeping. Just in case you don't realize it - those of you who receive the email blog digest - if you CLICK ON THE PICTURES IN THE EMAIL - YOU WILL GET LARGER DETAILED IMAGES..... TRY IT!!
Now to tonights blog:
I wonder why they call it Arches.....
Getting up extra early I was able to get a few hours of work in before we made the 45 minute drive to Arches. Upon entering the park you drive up a steep road with several switchbacks and enter a different world. This photo below is a formation called courthouse rocks a few miles inside the park.
We drove deeper into the park (about 20 miles) passing numerous scenic overlooks. Took way to many pictures (kate had 185 on her camera just today) and eventually arrived at our first trailhead of the day.
We took the 3 mile roundtrip hike to Landscape Arch - the second longest natural arch in the world. It is over a football field in length. Along the trail we met people from all over the world: Korea, France, Germany, and the most foreign country of all - Texas.
My old boy scout training (motto: be prepared) came in handy today. Even though a short 3 mile hike - I took a back pack with extra clothes, water, rain gear and umbrella. Sure enough - even though it was a crystal clear day when we left, on the way back the skies opened up but we were snug in our gear under our umbrella.
Todays self portrait at Landscape Arch
After we hiked back to the truck we drove a short way then parked and hiked up a canyon and found a quiet deserted place to have our lunch. It was a delightful place to spend a quiet 1/2 hour.
After our lunch stop we continued down the road to our next must see destination - Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is a Utah State Icon. It is on their license plates along with many other travel related collateral. A short but steep 2 mile or so round-trip hike up some slip-rock led us to this vantage point.
Notice the people below the arch.
We then drove back towards the entrance to the park and took a side road to the Windows Section. This section is so-named because several of the arches open up to scenery behind them - like looking thru a window. First stop was a mile and 1/2 hike to North and South Windows.
Just before we arrived - the sky got black & the rain started to come down in buckets. Soon we were getting pelted by some small hail. When we got to the trailhead parking, people were running for their cars and getting out of dodge. All the better for us as the trailhead parking was full - but soon emptied out. The rain stopped in short order (as it always does in the West) and we and a few people had the area to ourselves.
North & South Windows from a distance
This is looking back towards the storm that passed thru
This time of year the desert is so green. Small flowers are growing in the most difficult locations and after the rain stopped the air filled with the scents of wildflowers for a short time. What a great time to be here! In a future blog I will have to post some of the beautiful pictures that I have shot of the flora.
Our next stop was double arch. If you look closely at the arch on the left - you will see two arches that both join on the left. (remember to click the picture to enlarge)
Lastly - this guy looked lonely out there all by himself. I'm not quite sure why - but it held a strange captivation on Kate and she insisted that I get a shot of it.
Need I say more?
Tomorrow we head south to the Monument Valley. We might drive 3 hours or we might drive 6. This means we might bed down in the Monument Valley area - or perhaps on the shore of Lake Powell. Tomorrow we'll know for sure when we arrive.