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Arches National Park Canyonlands National Park

21st June 2010

More Marvels from Arches National Park

Panorama Looking South to Park Avenue      (please use scroll bar)

Three Gossips
    The morning was totally taken up with catching up on my web input, and burning all my photos and web material onto CDs for forwarding to the UK. Indeed, by the time I had completed everything it was 1pm.
Flowers in Arches
    As soon as I was done I went to City Market to stock up on fruit and liquids, and set off To Arches. I picked up a trailhead near Skyline Arch and did a long loop via the arch, also visiting Tapestry, Broken and Sand Dune Arches. It was a fair trek in the heat, but I made good progress since I wasn't carrying liquids; I had bulked up just before setting off. I have found this technique, which I do in the UK for every 8 miles walked, is fine. I carefully checked my fingers every so often, looking for swelling, an indication of dehydration.
Skyline Arch
Tapestry Arch
Broken Arch
Petra Like Entrance
to Sand Dune Arch
    My thoughts were that I was now fit, and so I should have been after all the miles I had put in on foot. I could hold my own with other hikers. However, on this trail a young, tall, muscular young fellow bounded past me as he jogged along the trail, in this heat!!
    I then headed up to the top of the park, to the Devil's Garden trailhead to visit Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches. However, the goal for this hike was Landscape Arch. This was the widest arch in the park, 306' base-to-base.
Pine Tree Arch
Tunnel Arch
Landscape Arch
    My final trek of the day involved a backtrack to Delicate Arch trailhead. At the beginning of the trail lay the Wolfe Ranch. John Wesley Wolfe settled here in the late 1800s with his oldest son Fred. A nagging leg injury from the Civil War prompted John to move west from Ohio, looking for a drier climate. He chose this tract of more than 100 acres along Salt Wash for its water and grassland - enough for a few cattle. The Wolfes built a one-room cabin, a corral, and a small dam across the Salt Wash. For more than a decade they lived alone on the remote ranch.
John Wolfe's Cabin
    In 1906, John's daughter Flora Stanley, her husband, and their children moved to the ranch. Shocked at the primitive conditions, Flora convinced her father to build a new cabin with a wood floor, and this was the cabin standing today. The reunited family weathered a few more years in Utah and in 1910 returned to Ohio. John Wolfe died on Oct. 22nd 1913 at the age of 84.
    A short distance after the Wolfe Ranch on a sandstone wall face a set of petroglyphs (carvings in the rock) could be found. The stylised horse rider surrounded by bighorn sheep and dog-like animals was typical of Ute rock art. The petroglyphs were carved sometime between 1650 and 1850.
Ute Petroglyphs
Final Approach to Delicate Arch
    I carried on along the trail which involved an appreciable elevation change. The slog was well worth it, and on the latter stage I was walking along a narrow ledge that hugged a cliff wall. I rounded a bend, and there it was, Delicate Arch, the most photographed free-standing arch in the park. It really was a beautiful shape and deserved its popularity. There was already a crowd sitting on the sandstone layers, looking over to the arch. Quite a few would be there just before sunset when the lighting on the rock is meant to be fantastic. However, I didn't want the hassle of trying to get back to the van in the dark, and the headlong rush to get back to Moab for some food.
Delicate Arch
    I did spend some time contemplating the beauty of the arch, and then the bigger concept of how all this began hundreds of millions of years ago, first as an ocean, then a salt layer, compressed under the colossal weight of sands, silts and other debris plus more oceans. The upheaval of the salt layer, the fracturing of the sandstone and the erosion over millions of years to produce such fantastic shapes. I had a rudimentary understanding of the geology, but the timescales involved were beyond my comprehension. I was thankful that such joys were still here for me and others to behold. I had really enjoyed Arches, and I could see why it was classified as a National Park.
    All good things come to an end. I set off for the trek back to the van. I met hundreds of Japanese tourists heading up to the arch, all disgorged from a fleet of buses. "How har?", said one old lady to me. It took a few seconds to twig she was asking me how far. I gave her an estimate of the distance. It was clear that was neither use nor ornament to her. I told her 8 mins, but later when I thought about it, at her speed half an hour would have been a better guess. I was asked the same question by umpteen struggling Japanese climbers, and I kept increasing my time estimates. They should have got back by breakfast time.
    I was soon back in the van, winding my way back to Moab. I looked forward to a shower and food.
    I went to a place that looked like the inside of a saloon for dinner; swing doors etc. For my first time in America, I ordered steak, and it was cooked to perfection. I had a chance to chat to the waiter, who I guessed was a similar age to myself. He used to live up in the Colorado mountains, but moved down here 14 years ago because he couldn't stand another winter of shoveling snow. I could see his point from my encounters with snow up in the Grand Mesa in June.
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Arches National Park Canyonlands National Park

Uploaded from Canyonlands Campground, 555 South Main Street, Moab UT 84532 on 22/06/10 at 09:20

Last updated 22.6.2010