Category: Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

Hike to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Friday, July 1, 2022

Karen, Josh and Melissa flew into Grand Junction, Colorado, about an hour and a half from Moab. Their flights were on time and without a hitch. We stopped for lunch at Qdoba, which was very good. 

First driving west on I70, we turned SW on 129, which follows the great Colorado River through a beautiful canyon. We stopped several times for pictures and stopped at Sandy Beach and stood in the water. Melissa did one better. She went all the way in, then laid on the hot sand making sand angels. 

There is a very pretty Lion’s Park and bike trail that extends 3 miles upriver from Moab. It also goes up to the entrance of Arches National Park and into and through the town of Moab. It is a great place for walkers, runners and bike riders.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

We got up at 4:10, and left at 4:30 in order to see sunrise at Delicate Arch. We had headlights, thinking we would be walking in the dark, but there was a pre-dawn light, so we really didn’t need the lights. Why so early? Martha and I had taken this hike a few days ago, and I will never forget passing a pretty girl carrying a camera. I asked if it was still there, and she said, “Yes, but the sunrise isn’t.” We were determined to catch the sunrise this time. This is an easy hike for Karen and the kids, but not so much for us, but we made it for sunrise 😊.

It is only a mile and a half hike, for a three-mile round trip, but it is an up-hill climb that is quite strenuous. It is a beautiful hike, finishing along a ledge with steep drop-off. Since we had done this before, I brought the 70-200mm lens. While Karen and the kids climbed to a high spot to see the sunrise, I was taking pictures of the arch when a voice with a heavy accent asked, “Can I see what you are taking?” I turned to show my last picture. He was interested in the lens and settings, and was a handsome young man from Ukraine. There were six or seven of them in a group. I asked him how things were in his country. He said, “The 21st century is crazy.” A perfect description I thought. I’m not sure what the story was, but they were having a big time.

As we sat watching the sun rise, making all kinds of light changes on the arch and surrounding cliffs, more and more people came up the mountain. They came speaking all kinds of different languages. Everyone wanted pictures under the arch. I was surprised how courteous they were, waiting their turn, then being pretty efficient in getting their pictures and getting out of the way. 

The hike back down is easier, and we could look at the beautiful surrounding mountains. Again, we took the side trail to some of the best petroglyphs I have seen. Although a bit difficult, we would rate this hike at the top of our list. The arch is beautiful; the surrounding mountains are spectacular; the hike up a huge rock hill is cool, then walking along a cliff edge is cool, but an important part was unexpected. The people from all over the world, speaking different languages, small children, all with courtesy and respect. They took their shots under the arch, then got out of the way for the next group. Across the valley, Martha spotted another group viewing the arch from behind, perhaps with the sunrise showing through the arch. Cool!

Arches National Park

We were up early, so we grabbed some things and drove north 10 minutes to Arches National Park. The park is so busy, you have to reserve an entrance time between 6:00 am. and 5:00 pm. We got there at 5:30, showed our National Parks Senior Pass and drove right in. There were others in front and behind. 

It’s about 12 miles to Delicate Arch trailhead, the featured attraction of the park. It’s hard to zip along, because the scenery is so spectacular. It was a beautiful morning with some cloud cover, a perfect morning for a hike.

The hike is 3 miles round trip, rated moderate. It’s a cool hike with incredible scenery. A pretty girl with a nice camera was walking out. I asked her if it was still there, and she said, “It is, but the sunrise isn’t.” I smiled and walked on. I guess we were about an hour late. The last stretch is along a cliff, which I do NOT like, but we made it. I could see why this is #1, as it is unique and very pretty. 

On the way back out, we took a short side trail to some pretty spectacular petroglyphs made by the Ute Indians, for whom the state of Utah is named. 

We stopped for a picture of Sand Dune Arch. Then we drove through the campground. It’s a very cool campground. Two sites had spectacular views of the valley below. One in particular looked so cool. A young lady was making breakfast with that view in front of her. There are also some nice picnic areas near the campground.

Then we went for a 1-mile hike to Landscape Arch. By now the parking lots were filled and the trail busy, but not really a problem. People watching is also fun. There were lots of young children, some not looking so happy. One very fit mother was carrying an infant on her back and holding the hand of a young girl. 

There are 2,000 arches in the park! The landscape changes dramatically with different shapes, vertical walls that seem to have been cut with a laser. I envisioned riding a horse through a gorgeous valley below. 

By 9:30, I was tired and sore and now hot. This is a good time to be finished, although the crowds were still pouring in. At the entrance cars were lined up for a quarter mile in two lanes.

Back at the trailer it was well into the 90’s, a good time to finish my projects. I finally I realized I had to go back under the sink and rotate the base 180 degrees and turn the handle around. Voila! It all worked! We have water 😊. As a bonus, the sprayer worked – not great, but it worked. There is a little spring with a plastic basket that goes in the line under the sink, but I couldn’t figure out how to place it, so I left it out.

On to the reading light. Trying to solder a dangling light proved a challenge. With Martha’s help, we tried a few times, but managed to just end up with a big ball of solder that didn’t hold. Finally, I saw how to remove the little on/off switch, which made access better. I cleaned off the solder, and while I held the the wire to the switch pole, Martha held the solder in her left hand, soldering iron in the right, and working between my two hands holding the wires, she soldered it! How she managed to not burn our fingers or touch the other pole, which would have blown a fuse or worse, is amazing, but she did it! 

We screwed the light back in its hole, turned it on and it worked! Yahoo! It was a good day. I put all my tools back in the truck and cleaned up. It was 105 degrees outside, and pretty hot inside. The air conditioner runs all day, and never catches up during the day. We both considered that. God help us if that thing dies! We turned it off for a while and sat outside. Oddly, sitting in the shade with a little breeze is fine. A dip in the pool also helps, but by the time we walked back to the trailer in the sun, we were hot again.

We took Bob to dinner at his favorite pasta place and enjoyed further conversations. He had ridden his bike all through town this morning and found the trail with a line down the middle goes all the way through town, a street behind Main Street. This will give Karen even more distance to run when she comes. He said all side roads just lead to developments, although several were very nice. 

We drove up the side of a mountain to Sunset Grill to see what the view was like. It was pretty spectacular. We could see the whole town, and for the first time to realize the town sits in a valley. It is also bigger than how it seems when you drive through it. Bob heads out tomorrow for Montrose, Colorado. Maybe we can visit later down the road.

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