Monday, August 20, 2012

Hiking in Arches National Park

Well... Hiking might be stretching it a ways (except for the hike to Delicate Arch, that is a challenge) but I did wander up and down some trails with a good friend of mine. We made a kamakazi trip down to the park from here in northern Utah on Friday, August 17th. It's a three hour, one way drive. And now, for a whole heap of pictures:

3 Gossips formation to the left

Random formations.

Self portrait with a miss of the 3 gossips.

Self portrait with random formation.

Me with random formation

The Sheep

Me, MD and the 3 gossips

Looking at the horizon from a pull out.

Getting 'arty' with the rear-view

More formations on the horizon from another pull out.

Same pull out, different direction.

Balancing rock

View of the Windows from Balancing Rock.

Different formations on the horizon from Balancing Rock.

The Fiery Furnace formation from an overlook, with zoom.

More Fiery Furnace from same overlook, with out zoom.

Fiery Furnace 'up close'. Permit required to hike down in them.

Fiery Furnace 'up close'.

View of the horizon from Fiery Furnace overlook.

Skyline Arch

Self portrait with a miss of Skyline Arch.

Why do I keep my sunglasses on?  Well 1) because it's sunny, and 2) because I have the darnedest time trying to get my eyes to smile along with my mouth.  Too often they just don't match up!  It's annoying!  With the sunglasses on, at least I only have my mouth to worry about.

Me and Skyline Arch

Skyline arch after a quarter mile hike up to it.

MD at the trail head to Landscape Arch.

Hiking to Landscape Arch.

Hiking to Landscape Arch

Hiking to Landscape Arch

Hiking to Landscape Arch

Hiking to Landscape Arch

I can see the arch from here!

Landscape Arch

Wee arch adjacent to Landscape Arch.

Left portion of Landscape Arch.

Right portion of Landscape Arch

Hiking back from Landscape Arch

Hiking back from Landscape Arch

As I mentioned above, the hike out to Delicate Arch is challenging. There is a section that's about a mile long that is all up hill over bare sandstone. There is no shade. There's isn't much of a trail to speak of over the rock either. But it is so totally worth it. Just don't wait too long and be in a rush to get up to the arch in time for sunset.

In the picture below, you can see the sandstone hill you get to climb up just right of center. It is that smooth ramp that doesn't look all that steep. It certainly doesn't look very threatening in the photo, but that hill is a bear.

Trail head to Delicate Arch. There's nothing out there!

I took a lot of pictures of Delicate Arch.  I had wanted to get there for sunset because the coloring of the sandstone is just amazing in the low angle light.  All the pictures above were taking during the mid afternoon and as you've seen, the color of the rock, while red, isn't as spectacular as it is when the light is coming in near the horizon.

We were at Delicate Arch for about an hour, and during that time the wind was blowing very heavily.  We were being sandblasted!  It's the same erosional force that affects the arches every day.  A lot of the pictures are very similar but as the time progresses you'll note how the color changes as the sun sinks towards the horizon.  We got there just in time for some of the best colors!

Delicate Arch

Me and Delicate Arch, and lots of wind!

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch at sunset can be a money shot for the professional photographer.  And there were tons of people there trying to get a good shot.  I don't think I got a money shot in any of my pictures, too many other people wandering out to get their picture taken right up in front of the arch.  As people would wander out of the camera frame for the professional photographers, you could hear all of their equipment go off as they took as many shots as they could before the next batch of people would wander into frame.

People to the right of me looking at Delicate Arch

People to the right of me looking at Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch, with zoom.

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch, with zoom

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Attempting a self portrait with Delicate Arch

Below is my favorite picture of the arch. All of the above pictures were taken with my point and shoot, this one was taken with my cell so that I could text is out to some people. (Can you believe I had five bars out here in the middle of nowhere?) This was the only photo we took with my cell and one of the first photos we took when we arrived at the arch. As you can see, the wind was definitely blowing strong.

My favorite picture of me and Delicate Arch.

We missed a whole section of the park, the Windows and Double Arch. Maybe next time around we'll be able to leave earlier in the day and be able to get over to these arches. As it was, we left the park around 8:30 at night and got home just after midnight. I hate driving in the dark and so took it slow up through the canyons and mountain passes on the way home. Plus we had to stop in Green River for gas, water, and an ice cream sandwich.

Hugs and Stitches,