Saturday, June 8, 2013

Our first day in Arches National Park

Nancy and I flew to Salt Lake City yesterday, and drove down straight down to to Moab Utah.  We stopped for lunch in Price, eating at the only adequate Farlaino’s Café – despite an Italian flag in the door, it was a generic American  restaurant with a smattering of Mexican dishes (I had a burrito, which was fine) and Italian dishes (Nancy had a sandwich with homemade sausage which was also OK). 

We arrived in Moab, a generic town consisting of a highway turned into Main Street as it went through town, although the red-rock walls towering high over the edge of town were nice to look at.  

We had reservations at the Bowen Motel, good value for very little money compared to the other places I had checked when making reservations.   But after four-and-a-half hours in the plane and four hours in a car, we were anxious to do some walking, so we unloaded into the hotel, put on our hiking boots and headed into Arches National Park.

Our ultimate destination for the day was to hike to Delicate Arch to see the sunset, but sunset was more than four hours away so we worked ourselves up to that by taking two flat walks.   Park Avenue is the first hike after the park entrance – a walk about a mile long surrounded by enormous “fins” (huge thin walls, such as this one)

and various fanciful forms.  These two seemed to us to resemble Nefertiti and Rodin’s Balzac.

This group of three figures is named the Three Gossips.

Then we drove further into the park and walked around Balanced Rock.

Finally, we drove to Wolfe Ranch, the trailhead for the hike to Delicate Arch.  The hike entailed less than 500 feet elevation gain, but this was our first day over 5000 feet above sea level and our lungs weren’t ready for the haul up this hill of sandstone, known locally as “slickrock”.
 We passed this smaller arch near the top of the hike

and we were both wiped out by the time we reached Delicate Arch.

Here, a distant arch can be seen through the Delicate Arch.

There was a good-sized crowd at the top, perched in various placed waiting for the sun to go down  

As the sun set, there was a dramatic impact on the color of the Arch as well as the surrounding walls of rock  

We began our descent; there was enough light left to see our way down, while watching a dramatic sunset.

It was dark as we drove back into Moab to look for dinner.  We opted to eat at the Moab Brewery; the food was acceptable.  My Black Raven Stout had good taste, but was thinner than I am used to having.  We were exhausted when we got back from dinner and fell asleep quickly with no time to blog the experiences of the day.

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