Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mega road trip - Day 7

Another day in Moab.  Today we went to Arches National Park.  We arrived early (7 am) since the forecast was for record high temperatures for early June (it hit 105 F by afternoon).  First hike was out to Delicate Arch, the symbol of Utah and a beautiful 3 mile round trip hike.

One thing that did bother my wife and I were the unbelievably dense parents who were letting little kids run around up there on the edge of 200 foot drops (they were literally running on the edge of the dropoffs). 

Anyway, I especially like the last part of the trail which follows a ledge along a high cliff.  You turn the corner, and the arch is right in front of you.

By the time we were on our way down (around 9:30-10:00 am), there was a constant stream of hikers coming up the slickrock trail (including a busload of Japanese tourists).

By 10 am, and after 3 miles, my wife and kids were done (not big hikers and they hate the heat).  I had them drop me off at the Devil's Garden trailhead while they went back to the Visitor's Center to earn Junior Ranger badges.  I hiked out to the Double O Arch a little over two miles each way.  It involved hiking on some neat stone fins on the way (higher that it looks in the photo)...

Out to the double arch...

It was a fast hike since I only had 1 1/2 hours before they returned to pick me up.  I was dizzy from the heat by the time I returned as temperatures were hitting 100 F by noon (you know it's hot when you drink over 2 liters of water and don't have to go to the bathroom once).

After that, we did the tourist thing and drove around in air-conditioned comfort to overlooks and arch viewpoints.  Later that night, after a dip in the hotel pool and dinner, we returned to Arches for the sunset and to look at the desert night sky stars (with a few lightning flashes from distant thunderstorms).

It's late and I'm tired - I'll write more about the geology tomorrow.

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