Arriving in Moab early afternoon we headed straight for Arches National Park five miles north of Moab. Having though to do the scenic drive and from that decide which trails we would like to hike the following day, naturally we couldn’t resist a few short trails! The area of the park is vast, the rocks different again to what we have seen so far. Not dissimilar to the rock type of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The shapes lend themselves to distinguishable shapes, again we played the guessing game, Amr deciding that my imagination was too vivid! I saw animal, people, the rocks know here as the gossips, seem to me more like the ‘we three kings of orient are’. After walking around Balanced Rock (yep, one huge rock precariously balanced on another tall rock) we hiked to Double Arch. Just like the name suggests, it a double arch, open to the skies above. These arches are huge, and look like the could crack at any time, well in the next thousand years or so! Tiring now in the heat (33C, considering only a couple of days ago we were freezing in -6C!) we took the short route to view Delicate Arch from a distance of about .75 mile. We could drive no further than Sand Dune Arch as Devils Garden is currently closed so there a substantial number of arches we had hoped to see that we will not be able to. This along with sunrise or sunset as the park opens after sunrise, and currently closes at 7pm (before sunset) due to road works. We walked to Sand Dune Arch which is hidden within the rocks, deep sand makes the walk difficult but worth it as it’s pretty surreal walking inside the rocks to view the arch. By now we were ready to drop and headed for our hotel discussing which of the trails we would walk the following day. Our ‘short journey’ had taken four hours and we were leaving just before the park closed.
Up and out bright and early to avoid the crowds and heat we went straight to the end of the scenic drive to walk the trail to Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch, the trail being closed after this point. Starting off easily the trail became more difficult in deep sand, then over slikrocks up and down until we reached the the first of the arches, then further steep rocks till we got to Tapestry Arch. Juniper trees along the way provided some shade although the clouds kept the heat of the sun off us and a fresh breeze was welcome. Not many people on the trail as we made our way, however we met lots on our way back, we were pleased we had made the early start.
We then made our way to the Wolfe Ranch which is at the start of the trail up to Delicate Arch. We could see others climbing up the trail clearly on the rocks, looking like ants crawling up. This was just the start of the trail! This one was a challenge. Uphill on sheer rocks all the way. I needed to stop and ‘admire the view’ a lot. Just when you think you are at the top, the trail takes a different turn through juniper trees and sand before coming out again on rocks, eventually leading to a path cut out of the side of huge rocks, with a steep drop at the side. Just when you think you cant go any further (at this point I was calling it Elusive Arch) you turn around a corner and there it is, Delicate Arch although i can’t see much delicate about it, it is huge. Sitting on the rocks to rest the leg muscles – which were pretty jellylike at this point- was lovely. Watching the antics of everyone trying to get their perfect shot within the arch was amusing and at time frustrating when someone took ages whilst there was a queue of people waiting patiently for their chance. We decided that we had enough pictures of each other we did not need to climb down further rocks and wait in line!
By now we had decided that after eating our picnic lunch we really weren’t fit enough to do any further walks today. So we headed back to the hotel and chilled out in the swimming pool which we had to ourselves for ages before we were joined by a couple of kids, who were well behave so we didn’t complain. Just as we got out and sat to relax a while, it started to rain! Is there anywhere we go that it doesn’t rain??