Arches National Park


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Published: March 30th 2009
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From Colorado Springs, my wife and I took around 6 and a half hours to get to the entrance gate of Arches National Park. We left around 8:00 am and at around 2:15 pm we were paying our park entrance fees. I wanted to get to the Visitor Center so I can get a reservation for a ranger guided tour of the Fiery Furnace. You can not do this online. Also, I wanted to get to see Delicate Arch at sunset. They say this is the best time of the day to enjoy this natural wonder. So we got our park tickets and headed for Moab to check into our motel about five miles from the park entrance. No problem. We changed into our hiking gear because the brochure said that it's moderate to strenous 3 mile round trip hike with open slip rock and exposure to heights. I don't know what a slip rock and exposure to heights really mean but it sounded exciting and adventure type words. So out we drove to Arches National Park. Got our park map and headed for the Delicate Arch. The scenic drive took us around some rock formation named the Courthouse, Gossip Sisters and Balanced Rock. Reminds us of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs only these rock formations are more magnificent, and more huge and just more. The drive took us about 30 minutes. Parked our car at the designated parking areas and off we went. On the way there were some petrogliphs of typical Ute art carved between 1650 and 1850. The hike took a little longer than what I expected. And at the last 200 meters before you get to see the Delicate Arch was the definition of "exposed to heights." Which kind a took me by surprised because I am normally not easily scared of heights. Maybe it was the six hour drive. But as soon as you come to the end of this rock face cliff is the sight of how the forces of nature created this beautifully carved arch called Delicated Arch. It's just breath taking. And at times my knees were slightly shaken. I did not let my wife know. The sky was getting darker and darker as the sun is slowly setting. The colors, the horizon, the blue sky, the shades of red, yellow and orange while watching this arch is so cooling to the eyes. You just sit there in silence and watch mother earth make it happen.
The next day we set out to see Landscape Arch, located near the Devils Garden Trailhead. The hike was easy and the Partition Arch and the Navajo Arch were within ten minute hike. Looking at our map, we could hike to the Double O Arch. And the brochure said primitive trail. So off we went. I must admit that my wife is more adventurous than I was at that point. It seemed liked she gained some super natural powers as she was commanding me to hurry up and keep up with her. My knees were giving up again although we ate cereal eggs and toast from the motel. It must be the coffee. My wife don't drink it. I do. As shameful as it look liked, I told my wife that we needed to turn around and go back. My reasons were that, first, there were no more trail to be seen. They had little rocks arranged by park rangers called rock cairn. And this is supposed to be your guide. There were no other hikers but us. And lastly, I just got scared of the heights. So we hiked back to the parking lot and ate lunch. Took a nap and around 4:00 pm we drove to The Windows Section. In these part of the park are arches you can walk in one hour and see Turret Arch, Double Arch, North and South Windows. There are trails and toilet facilities. We just enjoyed the leisure walk.
On our final day, we joined a ranger guided hike called the Fiery Furnace. There is a fee for this but I think it's worth it. Our ranger led us to some tight trails and the information she shared to us was educational and very interesting. She answered all our questions and very accomodating. It took us about three hours through rough terrain, narrow cracks, climbing over sandstone slabs and again exposure to heights. But this time I felt safe. Maybe because we had the park ranger.


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