Saturday, August 28, 2010

Arches Natl. Park

Days 8-9 
I had an Einstein Bagel breakfast and then had the random luck that a Cabela's (an outdoor store) had the boots I needed to exchange. The welcoming signs as I left "Colorful Colorado" and entered Utah's "Life Elevated," were rather accurate.  Life at Arches was incredible, but also hot, arid, and sandy.

Balanced Rock

The Delicate Arch was extraordinary at sunset; the setting sun seemed to make its natural red tint furious.  The hike back was thankfully cooler since it was probably 100 degrees during the ascent.  That night, I drove to a suggested "night time photo shoot" spot and waited until the moon was high enough to lighten the night sky.  Later on I tried to sleep in my car, but could not get comfortable because with the cracked windows came in the bugs.
Delicate Arch
The highway that leads you into the park is the perfect precursor for an experience that just keeps getting better.  The red rocks got larger, the formations look like God sprinkled red dirt (as if it were salt) onto other larger rocks.  The heat was desert like and the park only had two watering stations... so it was pretty intense.  But I got acquainted with the sunset/sunrise times and planned on taking eight GBs of shots and videos.  I hiked 3-4 miles to Delicate Arch (the one on the Utah license plate) and met people from Spain, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and all over the US including two ex-Gramercy residents. 

At Sunset
Some arches lit up by the moon.  
Its wild to think that at one point everything in the park was the rocky bottom of a salty ocean.  Ravens flew everywhere and I wondered if they were waiting for us to die.  In some places you could see where the currents/rivers eroded the land as it swirled along a bend.  

I gave up trying to sleep at 6:15 AM, which was 5 minutes before my alarm was to go off.  I captured the Landscape Arch, which is barely (but incredibly) longer than a football field in nice sunrise light.  Then, I made my way to the most isolated and least visited arch in the park... Tower Arch.  To get there I needed to drive on an intense 4x4 road and then hike 3.6 miles.  The road, by the way, should have had a yellow triangle and exclamation point on the map, like on ski runs because theres a difference between an expert run and an EPIRB run! Anyway, I made it and the arch was worth it.  Although difficult to photograph since there was little room on either side to capture it (its in a canyon), it proved to be my favorite.
Sunrise at Landscape Arch
The 4x4 road!
Tower Arch

Two quick conclusions; the auxiliary driving lights that I installed ARE especially helpful at night.  Also, desert-life is undeniably a tough habitat to endure.  At all times, there was sand somewhere, in your ear, beard, food, eyes, etc.  After I had overdosed on the arches I set out to the Flaming Gorge in Northeastern Utah, where the fishing is supposedly special.  I snuck into a campsite that had hot showers, and then peeled out to a marina on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.  Finally feeling clean, I made myself a nice dinner and crashed early night for a day full of fishing tomorrow. 

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