Monday, April 15, 2013

Arches National Park 2013, Part III

Click here for Part I.
Click here for Part II.

The final day of our spring break trip to Utah was set aside totally for Arches National Park. After a couple of brief sips the previous two days, we intended to drink our fill of the park's splendor before heading back home.

Mule deer
Unexpected wildlife bonus on the trail to Landscape Arch -- a scraggly mule deer who seemed pretty nonplussed by the hikers.  Once we passed her mission became clear -- getting to the other side of the trail to nibble on the foliage.  If all the animals blended into their habitat as well as this gal, it's no wonder we didn't notice any more.

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch was something we didn't get to on our last trip.  But I was very glad we made the time and the hike on this one.  It really is a spectacular feature.  And with three sections of rock having fallen off it since 1991, may not be an arch for much longer.  Or it could stay like it is for another thousand years.  I'm not a geologist, nor do I play one on TV.

Devils Garden Trail
The trail has this interesting little sand-filled wedge between two sections of sandstone just off to the side in one spot.  The sun was in the perfect position as we were passing for me to get my requisite solar burst/lens flare shot.

Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch was a favorite of the kids on our last trip, and the only thing Taryn specifically requested to visit this trip.  So naturally we spent a good amount of time here.

Sand Dune Arch
The arch is almost of secondary interest to a "trail" that climbs up over rocks to the outside of the formation.  We made it farther than we had last time, but were stymied near the end by a stretch I didn't feel comfortable tackling with a nine-year-old girl.

Sand Dune Arch
But as always, moving off the main path inevitably presents views that you otherwise would have missed.

Sand Dune Arch
Probably not the worst spot to live in the Zombie Apocalypse, with just one easily guarded way in.  Food and water would probably be an issue, though.

Fiery Furnace
The textures and colors of Fiery Furnace always enthrall me.  Next visit I'll have to make sure to take one of the range-guided hikes through here.

Delicate Arch
Another place we skipped back in 2011 -- the Delicate Arch Viewpoint.  Even with pretty much the least-interesting light of the day, the formation's size and shape still make it compelling.  Especially with the scale provided by other park visitors.

Wolfe Ranch Petroglyphs
A short side walk that too many people intent on getting to Delicate Arch skip, the Wolfe Ranch Petroglyphs are worth the look.  The possibility that they could have been created as recently as 1850 doesn't really diminish their ancient appeal.

Delicate Arch
After a completely clear day my hopes for a dramatic sunset shot of Delicate Arch were dashed by a bank of late-arriving clouds.  A photographer from England joked that it was his fault -- he'd encountered similar conditions trying to shoot in Yosemite and Zion on his journey through some of the western National Parks.  I wished him better luck as he headed to Grand Canyon.  Still, the muted pastels in the view we did get were beautiful in their own way.

Another fantastic and stunning trip, made even more special by the opportunity to share it with Danelle's mom and Taryn.  The big question is whether I'll make a push farther west to Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Zion before I return here again.  The good news is I win either way!

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