Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wait, You Forgot What?!

The drive from Denver to Moab is about 6 hours. I checked the odometer on the way back – 355 miles door-to-door. It was about 4 hours into that, maybe 250 miles from home, when I remembered something. Something I had forgotten. My hiking boots. Yeah, I’m just that smart.
Thankfully, Moab is enough of an outdoor sports mecca that we had no problem finding a shoe store. I ended up with a nice pair of Five Ten hiking shoes that have got the stickiest soles I’ve ever experienced. I could actually feel them peeling off of the slickrock.
Wendy posing in Park Avenue
New shoes acquired, we headed straight over to Arches. We stopped at Park Avenue, one of the first trails in the park. It’s a walk down a corridor of impressively large rock fins, reminiscent of the concrete canyons of New York City. Thankfully it had some shade too, because it was 4:30 PM and about 95 degrees in the shade.

It must’ve rained fairly recently, because there were a few little pools in the rocks. I can’t imagine they would last long in that heat and dry air. We certainly didn’t – just a quick jaunt down the canyon and then we headed back to the car.
It was getting towards sunset, so we headed off the Delicate Arch. That’s the park’s marquee attraction, the best known of the arches. It’s on the billboards for Moab and the Utah license plate. It’s an easy-to-moderate hike in my book, though the heat and lack of any shade made it much worse.

Heading back down the narrow walkway from Delicate Arch
Unbeknownst to us the last 50 feet of the trail has a sharp dropoff right on the side. Wendy is not a fan of edges. Even when I can at least reassure her that an apparent drop is really just a 5 foot tall ledge, she still doesn’t like them. This one actually is a hundred foot drop, so I didn’t really think she’d make it. Much to my surprise, she actually did get around it and up to the top.

At Delicate Arch
It was a mob scene at the top, with at least 30 people already there and more arriving as sunset neared. Everyone apparently needs their picture taken standing under the arch, usually while making some stupid face. There was actually a line for that at one point. It was exactly the kind of thing that drives me nuts about “touristy” destinations. We stuck it out for a while, but eventually decided to get back down that walkway before sunset caused the mass of people to rush down the cliff face like a swarm of lemmings.

At Delicate Arch
I’m glad we went to Delicate Arch. It’s one of those things you just have to do at Arches, and we got that box checked right off the bat. But I think my favorite part of it was when we learned that it used to be called “Cowboy Pants Arch”. I think that’s a way better name for it. Maybe someday a Vegas casino will buy it and put a giant neon cowboy torso on top of it, but until then you’ll just have to use your imagination.

A few more photos from that day (click for larger)

At Delicate Arch  

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Moab Adventure Complete

Despite the three month lull in posting, I have not actually fallen off the face of the Earth. Not for lack of trying though; we're just back from a trip to Arches National Park which has plenty of places to fall off of if you're not paying attention.


It was a short trip, but long enough. Two days of staying up late to catch summer sunsets, two more days of getting up in the dark to catch those early summer sunrises, and plenty of 100 degree desert days in between will take it out of a guy. I wouldn't be up now except that the neighborhood kids apparently decided to celebrate the birth of our fine country by blowing up a small part of it. Well, many small parts of it, over the course of several hours. They apparently have a lot more money to spend on fireworks than I did in high school. Damn kids (mutter mutter mutter)…

Anyway, it really was a great trip. The getting up early was justified by temperatures that approached tolerable, and a few shots like this.


We spent a little time in the unique, slot canyon-esque Fiery Furnace section of the park, which I loved. (note, that little speck at the bottom of the wall is yours truly).


And finished up with minor luxury of a nice dinner and the major luxury of high-powered air conditioning at a little resort on the Colorado River.


We did pretty damn well for a four day weekend! Most of the credit for that goes to Wendy, who managed to plan most of the trip in one evening.

Naturally we took lots of photos, but that was the easy part. The hard part is making the time to do something with them. But I'll try, really. Oh yeah, and I need to get through photos from San Francisco, New Mexico and a couple other things. Yeah, I've been a little busy with some other things lately.