Sunday, December 11, 2011

Moab (Arches, Canyonlands, and Sweet Hostels!)

On the same evening we raced shivering around Bryce, we also drove 5 hours to Moab.  Probably the longest 5-hour drive I've ever been on, although it's hard for me to complain since Lindsey did all the driving.  We had came out of Bryce, and headed a few miles back to where we had seen a Subway shop advertising free Wi-Fi.  Well, one of the benefits of hitting up the national parks in November is NOT the hours the local shops keep.  The Subway employees gave us dirty looks when we headed in at 5:35 p.m., and told us they were closing right away.  I guess no one in Utah eats supper.  Anyway, we ate our subs in the car and used the wi-fi to find a place for the night.  Sleeping in the van was out, since it was already below freezing and heading south fast.  Lindsey had scoped out a really cheap hostel in Moab, so we looked up the number and called.  They allowed check-in until 11:00, which was tight, but doable.  After stopping for gas, and various other slowdowns, we arrived there about five minutes before they locked the door!

Outside views, the next morning.

Lindsey, relaxing in the swank rooms.  We did spring an extra ten bucks for a private room with two beds.

I was really tempted to swipe the decor.

Attention to detail-- I like how the curtain was six inches too short.  Anyway, the Ritz it ain't, but at least it was warm and cheap!

Then, to Arches the next day.

Catching the moon between the two rocks.

The moon, slipping out of view in Lindsey's picture.  (I have pictures in here from my camera, and Lindsey's two cameras.  It may be a little mixed up, even a librarian finds it hard to organize three different cameras.)

Balancing Rock!  (Guess which one is called that for your chance to win a prize!)

It doesn't look too bad here...

But this angle makes it look a little dicey.

Ooh, some arches!

I love this rock pile.  It's like a little colorblind kid was stacking rocks and didn't realize that a white rock slipped in among his red rocks.

Desert soil, as the 300 signs told us.  They were quite concerned that we knew the damage walking on this soil would do to the ecosystem.  I was afraid of walking in my backyard by the time I came home, they had indoctrinated me so thoroughly about keeping to the official paths!

If you didn't know you were in a protected area, you would swear you were looking at mine tailings.  All these crazy piles of what looked like sand in different colors.  Lindsey tells me it looks a lot like the Painted Desert in New Mexico.  It was extremely cool to look for all different colors as we drove along.

Like Lindsey said, it looks like Dr. Seuss Land.

Lindsey walked back into the Devil's Garden here, while I stayed in the van, writing postcards.

Some older guys back in there were very chatty, offering to take her picture and asking all sorts of questions about Alaska.

Here we are, starting out the trail up to Delicate Arch.

Lots of steps to climb up-- and down.  When I'm the president of the Fat Hiker's Society, I will re-write the guidebooks to reflect the actual elevation climbed.  I'm sick of these hikes that say "500 feet in elevation gain", leaving out the fact you climb 200 feet, down 75, up 50, down 25, up 100, down 25...  so by the time you reach the top you're 500 feet higher, but you climbed 780 feet.  If I'm going to hike uphill, I want ALL the bragging rights!

Looking up to the long slickrock traverse.  (If you click on the picture, you can see the little ant-like hikers better!)

And back down to the start of the path.

There was lots of interesting things to see on the way...

The little cairns marking the path on the slickrock.  I liked these little cairns-- they were a good place to stop and catch my breath for a few seconds.

It goes up for a looooong time.  (And if you've hiked this before and are shaking your head at my wussiness, shake away.  I'm just proud I made it up!)

Walking along a ledge.  Not for anyone who's afraid of heights.

I love the swirls in the rock.

The final ledge before Delicate Arch.

The gorgeous view, to the left off the ledge.  I would love to be in one of those natural theaters.

 Totally awesome! 

And then, finally, at the arch.  It was such a beautiful, quiet day.  We sat there for quite a while.


This is the depression between the arch and the path.  There was only one cautious-looking guy out there when we went up, so I didn't know if people were supposed to go down in there.  I asked a park person later, and they said it was fine, but I was a wuss and didn't go out there.

See, it looks pretty steep there.  I guess it's deceptive looking and it's pretty easy to walk on.

I love the snow-covered mountains in the background.

The Quebecois that went speeding past us on the trail.  Then there was a Japanese couple with a ten year old daughter.  It's fun to see the different people that hike in!
Stairs carved in the rock.

Interesting rock.

The pictograms.

Then, on to other parts of the park.  This was the area labeled the Parade of Elephants, and I couldn't decide if this was the elephant head-on (about to trample a Port-a-Potty)...

Or this was the elephant's side view as it marched along.  Either way, they looked elephant-y.

And then, for some inexplicable reason, my camera was swarmed with fuzzies and dots.  They hung out just long enough to ruin several beautiful pictures, and then disappeared without me ever having noticed them or wiped them away.  Very frustrating.  But here's a picture of one of the Windows arches, complete with central black fuzzy.

Looking from Windows, over toward the Double Arch, and the Parade of Elephants.  (Again, this is from memory.  Don't become a tour guide on the strength of my information.)

Turret Arch, opposite the Window Arches.

The Windows, from Turret Arch!

I love this picture, I shall have to have my smarter little sister Livie show me how to remove the black dots from it.

We finished up at Arches in the late afternoon, so Lindsey said we had time to run over to Canyonlands National Park, since it was "just down the road."  After driving about half an hour, we got to the road for Canyonlands-- where it informed us it was 25 miles into the park!  Oh, well, the van was warm and the scenery was beautiful, so we decided to go in and see as much as we could before the sun set.  (Are you sensing a pattern here?  "Bryce and Canyonlands-- 30 Minutes at Dusk!")

Two mesas on the drive in-- the Monitor and the Merrimack!  (This is the last picture to feature black fuzzies-- they somehow died a quiet death before the next picture.)

It was actually a beautiful 25-mile drive.  Not a lot of rock formations, but after Arches, it was restful to see open fields, full of sage brush.  This is the first time I've ever seen the purple undertones to sage-- "Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey sprung to mind!  It's been too long since I've read a Zane Grey-- I must fit that in soon.

Saw lots of these birds.  I have no idea if they are crows or ravens, although I think crows are actually more rare?  I need to stop relying on my memory and look things up, but that smacks too much of college.  Or gainful employment as a librarian.

Canyonlands was hugely impressive, and I definitely want to return there someday when it isn't 5:00 p.m.

This isn't a great picture of this plant, but it looks like a ghost plant, so white and ethereal.

The colors are so intense it is amazing.

And, like everything, snow-covered mountains in the background make it better.

Canyonlands has over 80 miles of dirt trails accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles.  We may have to take advantage of that when we bring our kids out for an amazing vacation in ten more years...  :-)

The last morning in Moab, Lindsey discovered her wallet was missing.  The last place she remembered having it was at the pizza joint in town the night before.  Of course, since it was a pizza place, it wasn't open at 8:00 in the morning.  On the off-chance there was someone there, we drove over, and Lindsey knocked on the door.  After a while, a cleaning guy opened the door and let Lindsey in.  He rummaged around in a couple of cupboards, and found it!  Lindsey almost kissed him.  Needless to say, there was great rejoicing that we could continue on our trip without trying to cancel credit cards and get Lindsey some form of ID so she could fly home!

We parked beside this tree in the McDonald's parking lot.  The leaves were such a beautiful green, especially in the morning sunlight.  I don't have a clue what kind of tree is it.

Then, it was on to Capitol Reef (Pictures Coming Soon!!)


Anonymous said...

Clover, I definately think you should consider becoming a photograher/author, and put all these amazing pictures and comments into a book, so I can buy it!

laura said...

Continuing to love this!!!!

Sheena said...

Great Pictures, love the place you stayed at in Moab. Very Classy.

Anonymous said...

You DO have a way with words!! I have enjoyed going on your trip with you and if it wasn't for all that climbing and huffing and puffing I might even be jealous I wasn't with you!! You do have a way with words and I LOVE your sense of humor!