Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Utah Rocks: Arches

Friday afternoon, after the boys’ last day of school and my fun morning of skiing with my brothers at Snowbird, we headed south for a five day mini vacation to explore the red rock region of southern Utah. We spent the night in the same Moab Motel our family stayed in back in 2002. After dinner we drove up to see the slick rock trail. I have biked Slick Rock with my brothers and as bishop with the young men in our ward. There are many more campers scattered out and about on BLM land than I remembered when we camped there. 

We were up and out the door by 7:30 so that we could get to Arches National Park before the crush of Memorial Weekend tourists backed up the entry road. First stop was the hike up to iconic Delicate Arch. It was my third visit but a first for the rest of the family. We were not alone. It was a busy day and there was a polite line of families waiting to take photos under the arch.

At the end of the hike we ran into Betsy Siddoway Vandenberghe and her family just beginning their hike. Betsy and I were students together on the BYU Jerusalem program Fall 1982. Betsy and I plus a few others were the core group of adventuresome students who set out to see and do as much as we could during our four months in the Holy Land. We are still adventuring in hot, desert places.

After a picnic lunch we hiked into Devil's Garden.

Tunnel Arch

Pine Tree Arch

Have always wanted to see this amazing arch. Pretty impressive.

Will likes to use my camera.

Walking out of Devil's Garden I had a fond flashback to hiking up to the Monastery at Petra with the family.

Sand Dune Arch. This was a favorite arch for young Joel and Sarah back in 2002. It is one big sand box.

Broken Arch

Hiking into the Fiery Furnace requires reservations and a ranger guide. Next visit this is top of my list.

View from the Garden of Eden out to Delicate Arch, barely visible in the center of the red plateau.

North Window

 It was a breezy spring day.

North and South Windows

Turret Arch

Ran into a former student and TA of mine at this arch. I passed him earlier on the trail and didn't recognize him. I smiled as I passed him as he carefully shepherded his young children just as I had done years earlier. Later at the arch he recognized my voice and came up to say hello. 

Double Arch.

Balanced Rock

North Window and Turret Arch

As anticipated, by 4:00 we were all hot, thirsty and tired so we called it a successful day of exploring much of Arches. We stopped in Moab to re-hydrate and then we took the scenic route to Green River where we had reservations for the next two nights. We drove up Utah highway 128 which parallels the Colorado River. We passed Negro Bill Canyon and Porcupine Ridge which I have traversed twice on my mountain bike. When biking with my brothers, I always brought up the rear.

Castle Valley

From Highway 128 we took I-70 westward to Green River.

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