Thursday, April 29, 2010

Final death defying hike at Arches

For 2 months we have been putting off the longest hike until Friday when we finally decided it was the day. We started out at 8:40 in the morning with lunch and lots of water and walked the .3 miles from our cabin to the trailhead for Devils Garden trail.

There are several destinations that you can hike to and return or you could do the loop including a return by a "primitive trail". There's a lot to see along the way and several side trails to other views and arches.

From the trailhead to Landscape Arch is .9 miles on an easy trail that hundreds of people take every day. That's about as far as most people go. Not sure what keeps it from falling but don't think it will be long before it's a pile of rubble. Wall Arch just up the trail went down just last year. We have been up this far before but the trail was snow and ice and now it's just dirt and dust.

Just past Landscape Arch is Partition Arch. This is the view from one side and there is a trail that leads to the back side that we did not take.

From here on things started to get rough. As you can see, we had to go through the rocks, over some more...

We had to cross over some very high and narrow fins. It's hard to tell but this is about a 200' drop-off looking straight down on the trees below. Jackie just kept saying to herself, "don't look down, don't look down".

We ran across several areas with very unique erosion on the vertical surface of the Entrada sandstone.

Our first side trip off the main trail is Navajo Arch where me met a nice couple from Southern California and got them to take this picture for us. Or should I say this is for Michelle.

Another view from on top of the fins looking down into the valley of rocks that we have to find our way down and through to get back home, and we aren't at the half-way point yet.

A little closer view of what we will end up going through.

Just before the half-way mark we finally made it to Double O Arch and another picture of the two of us standing in the smaller of the two.

We went through the arch and climbed the hill for lunch and this shot looking back. The little hole at the bottom is the one we are standing in in the previous picture.

Two-thirds of the way around the loop we took another side trip to Private Arch. Hard to show all the beauty and size of some of the arches but we gave it our best shot.

Still trying to find our way out. Is it down the wash or do we climb up the rocks again? We keep trying and we will find our way out and back home.

Still an hour to go and finally get to the water hazard that we have heard about for weeks. This picture does not really show the size of the pond, the angle of the rocks and how slick the surface has been made by all the people slipping into the water. We met several people going the other way with very wet feet.
We worked as a team of 2 and finally made it across the face of the rock without wet feet.

We finally made it back to the trailhead and looking back at what we went through we are pretty proud of our accomplishment. We ended up doing between 7 and 8 miles and finally got back to the cabin in 5 1/2 hours. This is the longest hike we have ever taken together and somehow we survived. We didn't think we survived the next day when we tried to get out of bed, however. Seems we found muscles we didn't know we had! And the bottom of the feet--talk about sore!

To be continued...


picinichml said...

looks like a beautiful day!! I love the first picture of the two of you. You have so many great photos to choose from for your Christmas cards!
Hope your birthday was awesome!!!

志源 said...
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Joan said...

Another set of wonderful stuff. but don't click on the other comment "heloo~welcome to my world" funny things come up
Nice to talk Skype on your BD

Kathy said...

Wonderful photos, Dick and we're glad you survived the "death defying hike" to tell us about it! :)

It looked a little tricky, where were the trail signs? how did you know which ridge to go over? Or was it the well worn path of many other hikers?

Thanks for sharing! Now where are you two off to explore?!
Kathy and Grant