As we made our way from the San Juan River to Bozeman, we happened to be going through Moab UT, which is base camp for many outdoor adventures, including trips into Arches National Park. We looked at our fishing calendar which suddenly had a couple of openings due to SNOW on the Green River in Flaming Gorge and decided to hole up in Moab for a few days.
The first day we arrived in Moab, we parked the SaraLinda at the SlickRock Campground on the north end of town, nearest to Arches. Once we were settled, we headed up to venture into the park for our first sojourn. It was late, the park was closing at 7pm due to road work in the park, so we raced (at 45mph, park speed limit) deep into the park to see a few of the sights. We walked about a quarter mile to get a better look at Double Arch (see Pic 1) and realized that we really needed to go all the way up into it to gain a greater appreciation of its size. We also did our three nods looking up at Balanced Rock which we were told is actually the size of three school buses. What our first day excursion told us was that we’d be spending at least a full day in this beautiful park.
The next morning we were up early and headed into the park again. After stopping at the Visitor Center, we ventured up the winding road, heading again to Double Arch. There were far fewer people in the park at this hour so our hike to the arch was much more peaceful (aka…. all the young ones were still safely in bed as were the tweens). We made it to the base of Double Arch where Barb shook her head as I was determined to climb up inside the arch to get a picture looking out over the landscape. It took a bit of “scrambling” but I finally made it (see Pic 2). After slowly sliding back down on my backside, Barb and I headed off for the next set of arches.
Across the way from Double Arch are two “Window” arches aptly named, North and South. What is amazing is that as you hike the path to see North Window Arch, you are looking everywhere to see where South Window Arch is located. Nothing! When we arrived at the base of NWA, I was able to coax Barb up under the arch for a picture taken by another hiker. We traded a lot of arch pics with people from all over the world.
As we left NWA and thought we were headed for Turret Arch (the arch in our featured cover pic…that’s me inside the arch), disappointed we didn’t find South Window Arch, low and behold, it simply appeared, behind a rock. Perspective was everything in seeing SWA as I later learned. We continued to Turret Arch which turned out to be a very easy hike. Again, Barb took in the view from a distance while I climbed up into the arch. When I turned around, a beautiful view of BOTH “Window” arches appeared (see Pic 3).
After these three hikes, we were beat and ready for lunch. We headed to an area in the park known as Devils Garden. We grabbed a quick lunch of our usual PB&J, a few chips and an apple. It’s our “go to” lunch everywhere… fishing, hiking, traveling and just hanging out. We never get tired of it.
Our next hike was to Landscape Arch (see Pic 4) which is the longest arch of its kind in the world. This was a longer hike, a bit of up and down, but not too bad. On the way back I couldn’t resist running up a hill of sand weirdly tucked into the canyon walls. On the way back from seeing Landscape Arch, we took side trips to Pine Tree and Tunnel Arch.
We had a bit of energy left in our tanks, so, we hit a few more arches before heading to a local brewery. As we sat down and shared a nice Moab Brewery scotch ale, we looked at Barb’s watch and determined we’d hiked about 6 miles during the day… so, of course, we splurged with nachos to go with our brew!
The next day, we headed to yet another national park in the area, Canyonlands, as well as to a state park that got rave reviews, Dead Horse Point State Park. The prevailing story behind Dead Horse Point State Park is actually pretty sad.
After another day of hiking, we made our way back toward Moab, our basecamp. However, one more hike was in store for us. We hiked up the side of a cliff; yes, even Barb had to climb this one, overlooking Moab to see some Native American petroglyphs (see Pic 5). Very cool. And we just had to make one more trip into Arches to see Delicate Arch which is the arch used in most all of the literature about the park.
Our time in Moab was done and we headed on to Bozeman for some fishing, R&R and seeing friends. We had an “epic” day fishing on the Madison, but that’s another story.