Friday, May 20, 2011

Arches National Park

John and Sandy joined us for an "orientation" drive through Arches National Park. With cloudy skies and a threat of rain, we decided we'd cover much of the park in the Jeep and save some hikes for a better weather day. The entrance to the park is just three miles or so north of our RV park. Shortly after passing through the gate, our scenic drive delivered. For some 35 miles we were treated to some magnificent scenery.

We stopped for a very short hike around Balanced Rock. It looks like it's held up with mortar. But, it's not!

John and Sandy posed in front of a formation near Balanced Rock that we dubbed "The Hand".

Here's another look at Balanced Rock. The photographer just had to have a little fun!

With more than 2,000 natural arches in this aptly-named park, visitors don't have to go far to see an one or, in this case, two. Lots of folks were crawling around Double Arch when we arrived, but we managed to squeeze in this shot of just Sandy and John in front of the spectacular span.

As we were walking away from Double Arch, the sun came out. Everybody did a quick about face to enjoy this well-lighted and fresh perspective.

These two gateways are called The Windows. That's South Window on the left and North Window on the right.

Along the one-mile loop around The Windows, we enjoyed an up-close look at this grand formation. Paul and Sandy provide some scale. As you can see, these are really big windows!

From the loop we caught a glimpse of Turret Arch. Photographing this formation became an exercise in patience as we waited for climbing visitors to get out of the shot.

The backside of The Windows offered this especially scenic view. The snow-capped La Sal Mountains are an impressive backdrop to the scene. But, today, those beauties were shrouded in clouds.

Fiery Furnace wasn't too fiery today. But, in any light, these 200-feet tall hoodoos are impressive.

We strolled between massive fins on the way to Sand Dune Arch. The fine red sand base made it feel like we were on our way to the beach!

Paul wedged his way into this little passageway for a photo op.

This is today's best view of Sand Dune Arch. It's much bigger than this, of course. This is actually just the very top of the arch. It's the only part that did not have kids climbing on or around it, or rolling down the red sand dune at its base. Nobody in our foursome got a good shot of this arch, but we were all thankful we weren't going to have to do any of the laundry of the families with the tumbling children.

Our last arch of the day was Skyline Arch. With dark clouds looming, we donned rain gear and started the trek to see this hole in the wall that has a relatively recent history of growing. In 1940, a massive section of rock fell away from the arch and doubled the size of the hole to 45-by-69 feet. With a clap of thunder, we decided to head back to Jeep and appreciate this arch from a distance. As raindrops began to fall, we made a quick run through the campground and to the turn around point of this scenic drive.

With plans to return to Arches at least a couple of times during our stay, we headed back to the moose and enjoyed the afternoon rain shower from the comfort of our rolling home.


Sue and Doug said...

Great photos today!..this park is on the top of our list

E Squared and Mui said...

I jusst love, love, love Arches NP.