|Balance Rock Arches National Park Utah|
Helpful hints about Arches - go early or late. The park is open 24 hours/day because there are several campgrounds. If you go out early in the morning you avoid the crowds (parking lots can be full from 9 AM to 3 PM) and, more importantly, you avoid the scorching heat. As you'll see in the rest of the photos, there's not much in the way of shade at high noon. Bring lots of water. And sunscreen. And a hat. And sunglasses.
OK, enough of the PSA, here are the photos!
The hike up the slickrock to get here is about 1.5 miles, a good portion of that is straight uphill. The visitor's guide suggests you know your limits as the park service rescues many overextended hikers from this area every year. Water. Water. Water.
|Slickrock path to Delicate Arch|
|Looking back to the parking lot.|
|Small arch along the way.|
After hiking straight uphill for about a mile we came to this lovely, small arch. There was no obvious continuation of the path (it's actually right behind me) so lots of people were standing around taking pictures. (It's also picture-worthy, not just because hikers thought this was the end of the trail.) A small boy, about 8 years old, looked around and stated pretty much what I was thinking, "I walked all the way up here to see THAT?" Then we saw more walkers coming around the edge of the cliff and we continued on.
|Moi at Delicate Arch|
|Rock at Delicate Arch|
I sat for a very long time watching Rock scramble all over the place. It's hard to tell from this photo that it's a fairly steep drop off all around. You know me and the ol' vertigo. Just hiking on the easy cliff walk to get here was a challenge. And, yet, I remember being a kid and racing all over the edges of cliffs along the Palisades with no problems! But, as you can see, I finally screwed up my courage, convinced myself it's all in my head, and I got over there to have my picture taken. However, once there, I could not, for love nor money, walk under the arch where you see Rock standing. Close enough, I thought, and leaned into the arch and hoped Rock got the picture!
|It's a long way down...|
Another thirty minutes or so and we were almost back to the parking lot. Always excited to see petroglyphs, we took a side trail to find this:
We continued on to Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch. After that, it was around 11 AM and all the parking lots were full. Back to Moab for lunch and a stroll around town.
|Into the canyon.|
But a pretty, little arch awaited -
|Sand Dune Arch - Arches National Park - Utah|
Next stop is Canyonlands National Park!
I can't stress enough how wonderful our national parks are. Get out and see them. I brought home the 'trading cards' series of postcards of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. There are 59 postcards in the pack. If you can't get to a National Park this year, you can order the pack directly from the designer.
If you are 62 years or older, get your $10 park pass that's good for life. (With some entry fees at $25/car, paying $10 once for the rest of your life is a great deal!) We missed the deal by 6 months this time around, but there's always next year.
178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032