Arches National Park Utah

6 05 2012

I wake up incredibly refreshed and stoked to visit Arches National Park! The downstairs of the van is super comfy and the desert air dry! I’m the first to awake. I step outside and fix myself a nice hot cup of coffee. Sipping the nectar, I witness the cascade of sunrise light gradually bathing the banded redrock walls of the canyon.

Ed and Alex begin to stir. I take a stroll along the canyon creek wending its way around our site. It’s interesting checking out the details of the canyon, the rocks, the cactus, and smelling the clear air.

Today’s breakfast is eggs, bacon, onion, peppers, with cheese mixed up. A good hearty breakfast! We make toast by sauteing bread on a pan.

As the sun’s warmth makes us comfortable, it becomes hard to want to pack up and get moving. But we’ve got big plans – to visit Arches National Park. I have been to Utah at least ten times, but incredibly I have never been to the canyon country! I’m very excited to be here! We are also meeting two women Ed knows from Park City. Rhoda and Susan.

Driving back down the dirt road we took to our campsite, we re-criss-cross the creek many times. I’m still amazed how the road clings to the rocks with the river just beside. There’s no room for a car coming the other way!

View to the mountains in the distance…

After an hour we reach the park. There are sandstone formations everywhere, and we personify each! Some look like furniture, others like a person sitting. Then there are the arches themselves. They’re everywhere!

We are here about lunch. So we avail ourselves of the camper’s kitchen! And, since we’re in the parking lot, we’re obvious to those who know us – Susan and Rhoda! They show up and join us. Perfect timing!

Okay. All fueled up, we head out on the trail.

Like elsewhere, it’s high season down in canyon country! Spring is the time to visit here. It is anything but a secluded experience. It’s spring break plus vacation time for those escaping winter’s grip.

Ed emerges from the kitchen!

Here, it’s going to reach 80 degrees fahrenheit.  There are single arches, double and triple arches, collapsed arches, and towers sometimes impossibly balanced in the air.

Rhoda and Susan check out the valleys beyond…

Some have incredible views of the valleys beyond.

We hike through arches and climb around.

Then, we head to another area where there is a super long arch that looks like it’s not going to last a whole lot longer.

It’s called Landscape Arch, and it’s the longest natural arch in the world.

Landscape Arch

Once we had our fill of all those arches, we engaged in another search-for-a-campsite adventure – Ed knew of a special spot, off the tourist track, called Gooney Bird.

To get there, we had to head off the highway and then 800 feet up this dirt road clinging to a cliffside! The van held on, though, and we made it.

See the trail? 800 ft below that cliff is the hwy!

This road descends and then comes through a little valley, which is totally empty. Inside, there are side canyons with camping!

Ed’s target is a canyon where the entrance is marked by a tower named Gooney Bird. It really does look like a Gooney Bird!

We quickly settle in to a new spot. Well, we’ll see about tomorrow!