Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arches National Park

After beating a hasty retreat from Bryce Canyon, I headed north through Antimony, east through Loa, then Torrey, and into Capitol Reef NP.  I kept on moving east and found a very nice and very deserted mesa  top to spend the night a bit west of Hankesville.


The next day turned cold and rainy for a while, but improved as we caught the interstate east for a bit, then south to Moab.  Did quite a bit of looking around for a good spot to camp as well as refilling the fuel and propane tanks.  I settled finally on Willow Springs road a bit to the north of Moab.  It is BLM land and a bit of an ATV area, and mountain bike area, but most of the ATV’ers were somewhat family oriented, so they were not as loud and disruptive as they might have been.


I knew you had to start early to get a parking spot in Arches, so I managed to make it to the end of the park at Devil’s Garden and be on the trail by 9.  There were only about 8 other vehicles there at the time.CIMG0718 CIMG0719

There are many many arches in the park of the same name, but there has been some ‘recent’ changes to some of them.  This one shed a few tons of rock from it’s underside back in 1991, which is only the wink of an eye in geologic time.  Incredibly, it was captured on film.CIMG0731

And Wall arch completely crumbled one night in 2008 – nothing much to take  photo of – other than a pile of rocks.

This one is known as the Double O.

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The sign warns of ‘difficult hiking’ on the ‘primitive trail’ back to the trailhead, but there was only a bit of seriously sloping rock to contend with.


Of course there were flowers.CIMG0745 CIMG0750

And steep rock. 


And holy rock.

Got a bit of a shock when getting back to the trail head a couple hours later.  Now, there were swarms of people coming up the trail, and every imaginable parking spot was taken, with cars cruising for spots.  So I kept my spot and hiked through the campground for a look around.  Found another trail leading out of the campground, going to Broken Arch.


It wasn’t really, but there is a crack in the top of it. CIMG0756

Coming back with the campground in the distance.

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In the campground ( and this is a first for me), the posts that held the camping permits had locked compartments on them.  This campground is 100% reservation now, tho apparently there are a few rare cancellations or no-shows.CIMG0763

I hit a few more of the viewpoints along the road back, but most of the parking lots were packed, and I did not feel like hiking with the crowds, so didn’t stop for long.

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Then, much to my pleasure, I found a shortcut leading right back to my camp.  A nice, rough 4x4 road leading down out of the park.  And the same road that I am camped on – Willow Springs!CIMG0774 CIMG0776 CIMG0777

I would not have wanted a much longer wheelbase in a couple spots, but me and the truck had fun.


And before long, we were right back in camp!

One more day of free park entry. CIMG0779

Where should I go tomorrow?

1 comment:

  1. Devil's Garden in the Arches brought back pleasant memories for me as we hiked that same Double Arch trail. We were there in November of 07 & the people & traffic stuff was lite. Hiked 'Park Avenue' & a few other trails as well. Great place & would be even greater if it weren't for all the darn humanoids. Edward Abbey worked here & I've read a couple of his books. He was a loner too so enjoyed his perspective on the 'people infested' world.