Thursday, October 11, 2012

September 23, 2012 Breakfast With The Devil...Needles At Sunset

 We headed out before sunrise to Arches National Park. Our first stop was at Balanced Rock just as the sun broke across the horizon.

 Next stop...Devil's Garden. We are going to make a loop of this hike by taking the Devil's Garden Trail out and the Primitive Trail back. We plan on taking every side trail so we can see all seven arches on this hike.
 The very impressive entrance to Devil's Garden...
 ...since I was taking pictures Mike passed by me. Who am I kidding? As you will see, I trailed behind Mike all week long.
 Arch #1 - Tunnel Arch

 Arch #2 Pine Tree Arch

 A close up look at the sandstone rock near Pine Tree Arch
 Back to the main trail

 I love self portraits when the shadows are long...I look much thinner.
Arch #3 - Landscape Arch. The span is 306 feet long.

 Hiking past Landscape Arch the trail gets very interesting...
 ...following the cairns across the rocks is a must...

...or look for the foot worn sections of rock.
 The scenery was amazing everywhere you looked. Since the sun began popping through the clouds, the colors were changing every few minutes.

 We hiked up to Arch #4 - Partition Arch. The view was surreal.

 We decided to eat breakfast while sitting under Partition Arch...
 ...Cliff bars are real tasty when eaten with this view.
 Mike & I were both amazed by the willpower of Mother Nature. Somehow this tree grew on this cliff right into the rock...amazing.

 After relaxing for a few minutes, it was back on the side trail to Navajo Arch...
...and more strange examples of Mother Nature's work.
 Arch #5 Navajo Arch...named after the type of rock, not the Native American tribe.
 Once again, strange things from Mother Nature.
 While Mike went rock climbing...
 ...I took pictures of the stunning scenery all around me.

This is the trail. What a great hike.

 We continued to hike up the rocks... scenery that constantly changed but was well worth the effort.

 Arch #6 Double O Arch.

 Many tried, but only Mike was able to climb straight up the rock to the upper arch...
 ...which caused one female hiker who witnessed this to call him "Spiderman".

The Primative Trail back to the trailhead.

 Arch #7 Private Arch

 A little hike up a rock gave us this view...
 ...and this view.
 I thought this was a primative trail. It sure has a lot of signs.
 Once we climbed down off the rocks, it was more like walking through a desert.
 How this tree is still growing just amuses and amazes me.
 So does this...
 ...and this...
 ...and this.
 The last part of the hike is along the same trail we headed out on except now the skies were blue. This hike through Devil's Garden was beautiful in so many ways. It was also fairly easy. The uphill parts were gradual and the trail is pretty easy to follow. I truly believe that hikes like this are what makes me get out of bed everyday and go to work. I know places like this exist, I need money to get to them. So I go to work everyday and dream about my next hike somewhere on the planet. At the time, I thought this would be my favorite hike of the trip. But Utah had a lot more to show me before I headed back home.
After a short drive, we stopped at the Garden of Eden. I warned Mike not to accept any apples from naked women. It seemed appropriate since we just left the Devil's Garden. I decided to use the back window of our Ford Flex to take a self portrait.

 Another short drive...another arch...a short hike to Double Arch.

 Looking back from up on Double Arch.

 The pictures below were taken with a fisheye lens...just me playing around with the camera.

 We drove back into Moab for lunch at Sweet Cravings Bakery & Bistro. I enjoyed a roast beef & blue cheese panini with homemade applesauce. Then it was off to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.
 But first, a little roadside Americana also known as a tourist trap. We just stopped for the picture.
 Then some recent historical artifacts like this well pump and reservoir...
 ...then a more ancient historical site. Newspaper Rock with it's rock etchings possibly dated from BC until the 1300's.

 Motorhomes seem so small out here.
 Since we only have two hours until sunset, we decided to hike the Slickrock Foot Trail.

 Once again, cairns show us the way.

This hike had several viewpoints on rock outcroppings that gave us cool views into the canyons.
 We enjoyed this one, mostly for the impressive views, so we sat for awhile and enjoyed a Cliff bar.

 My head is so big that I need a fisheye lens to take this picture.

I keep repeating this but the scenery is just incredible. Too bad the pictures don't do it justice.

 That isn't a nuclear explosion, just the setting sun. We finished the hike just as the sun set. While driving out of Canyonlands we found a spot to take pictures of the sunset.

We had dinner at the Blu Pig back in Moab. Then a refreshing late night swim in the pool to end the day.

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