Sunday, March 18, 2018

Delicate Arch


From the OK RV Campground, we were up early and heading for Arches National park.  The park is always busy this time of year and even at 9:30 in the morning there was a 20 minute waiting line of cars at the two entrance gates.

 After showing our Golden Age pass we headed for the Delicate Arch parking lot.  We were tempted at many points to stop and take pictures.  Unlike the previous year, the weather was perfect and every turn seemed to present fabulous views of the formations and surrounding mountains.

During our visit last year we were unable to make the hike to the arch since I was having significant foot pain from plantar fasciitis.  At that time I was only able to take the shorter hike for a distant  view of the arch.  From that trail you can only see the arch from about a quarter mile away.
The longer 3 mile hike to view the arch close-up begins at the remains of the Walker ranch.  The Walker family moved from their Ohio home to Utah in 1898.  They stayed in this one room cabin for about ten years.  They built a dam on the nearby creek and raised a garden.
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The Walker ranch is very near the parking lot.  The trail winds up hill toward a steeper slick rock climb.

After cresting this area of bare rock one would think that maybe you might be near the end.  However, the crest of the rock is only about one third of the way on the 1.5 mile trail.The remainder of the trail to the arch is not as intimidating, but winds around some narrow bare rock shelves that are not for those afraid of heights.

 Delicate arch is perched high on the rim of a rock funnel that slopes down in the center about 150 feet.  One is forced to take very deliberate steps on the steeply sloping rock to avoid stumbling and rolling down the funnel (to almost certain injury).  Also climbing over the edge and into the funnel is scary. One person's plastic water bottle got away and went careening down the funnel.  I wondered how many other items are down at the bottom?  Also how many tourist have taken the fall?

There were 30-40 people at the arch taking pictures.  Our photos could have been better had we arrived earlier in the morning.  The only view available to us had the arch and our faces mostly in the shadow.

 After the return hike from the Delicate Arch, we stopped at a picnic area near Balanced rock and had a late lunch.

View of Devils Garden from Vista Point

 It seemed the views at every turn were absolutely gorgeous.  The pictures of course don't do it justice.

After a full day and a very nice hike, we left the park and headed to Suzie's Branding Iron restaurant for a yummy steak dinner.