Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hiking Utah: Arches National Park

Hello from the Grand Canyon, where J and I are becoming "master educators" for Leave No Trace. Yes, it is as cool as it sounds.



Because we can't do things the simple way, J & I decided that we needed to make the most of our road trip to the Grand Canyon for our Leave No Trace Master Educator Course. We couldn't just go from Denver to the Grand Canyon and back. We are instead cramming in as many southern Utah National Parks as we can.

On our way to the Grand Canyon, we spent 3 days in Arches National Park. J had been to the park before briefly, but I had not at all. We have now BOTH explored it and can mark it off our list.

Arches is a high desert sandbox with slabs of Entrada Sandstone rising up like skyscrapers, bridges and arches (hence the name). The rock piles resemble animals and even humans. There are 2000 arches to be viewed and by my best estimation, we saw 25-50 of them.

We car camped in Arches (at Devil's Garden Campground), because all of the hikes are day hikes and actually, I don't think you can backcountry camp. We did about 9 different hikes, totaling about 23 miles.



Instead of sharing all the gazillion pictures of arches I took--since they will probably all look the same to you anyway--I'll just share my favorites.

1) The Windows Section
This was an easy 1-mile hike, but the arches were way cool!



2) Landscape Arch and Private Arch
Devils Garden is the longest hike in the park (approx 9 miles), but it gets you to 8 arches. We took this hike with another couple, Katie & Neil, whom we met at the campground. We immediately knew we liked them when they told us they just quit their jobs a few months ago and hit the road. Anyway, my 2 favorite arches from this hike were Landscape Arch and Private Arch.















3) Fiery Furnace
We took a ranger-guided hike into the "fiery furnace," which had a bunch of spires and slot canyons. We had to use our hands as much as our feet!





















4) Delicate Arch
My last favorite is the one you find on all the Utah license plates. And it really deserves to be on the plates because of its beauty!















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