Friday, July 7, 2017

The Rahns head west - Day 9 ~ 5 a..m. hike to Delicate Arch and a visit to Canyonlands National Park

Our day started with a 4:15 a.m. wakeup call to be out the door by 5:00 a.m. for the 2 mile hike to Delicate Arch. We made it to the trailhead by 5:30 - our goal was to beat the heat and beat the people. We achieved both! Delicate Arch is the iconic arch for Arches National Park. It is the arch that is featured on all of the publicity for the park. It was a "moderate" hike across slickrock and lots of uphill inclines.  We made it to the arch after the final walk that was along a cliff of slickrock with about a 200 feet drop on the side and no rails or protection. I was a little anxious but it was totally worth it!

We took some pictures while taking a break along the hike.

Around the corner of the final cliff walk was this beauty and the sun was just starting to shine on it.

Carleigh, Katie and Don are at the base

just Carleigh

Carleigh and Katie on the side  - the sun has just about totally woken up

just Katie
We hung out up there for a while - we were among only about 15 other people. We definitely beat the crowds, and the 80ish degree heat we walked up in was quickly rising now that the sun was up.

After our hike was over, we headed back to the  hotel for breakfast and then to Canyolands National Park. We went to the Island in the Sky section.

It's another beautiful park, basically a giant canyon. People compare it to the Grand Canyon but on a much smaller scale. We just drove around ad got out to look. There weren't any hikes that we were interested in, so it was basically a driving adventure.

After Canyonlands we headed back to rest and get ready for dinner. We had another great dinner and booked our next adventure.

Tomorrow we will go on a 2 hour Hummer Safari to Hell's Revenge. It's a giant slickrock area for off road driving. We'll have a driver and will drive the back roads of Moab. It was explained to us as a "slow roller coaster ride" in a Hummer.

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Rahns head west - Day 8 ~ Arches National Park ...July 4th and an Arches Sunset

The story of how we ended up at Arches and Canyonlands started a year ago when Carleigh saw an Instagram post of Arches and wanted to go there. It fit with our itinerary from Jackson  and Park City so the planning began. Then...upon browsing the NPS Arches website, we saw it was under construction all summer and to expect awful crowds. It would also close from 7 pm - 7 am every day for road construction, which meant no sunrise or sunset pictures. That did not sound fun, so...we changed our plans to Zion and Bryce - 6 hours in the other direction from Park City, 

Then... the largest forest fire in the country (this summer) happened - The Brian Head Fire - in the nearby area, close to Bryce and Zion. We watched the news of the fire and though it was slowly being contained, the roadways that we would travel to Bryce were still in the path and there were reports of smoke in the air at both parks. So...let's check Moab again - hotel rooms were available and the NPS Arches site said the park would be open 24/7 for July 4th weekend while construction was stopped for a few days.

Upon much deliberation, and watching the reports on the forest fire, we decided (2 days before leaving) to head to Moab and venture into Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Carleigh was happy and it also knocked about 6-8 hours of driving time off of our trip. 

So we began the adventure into unknown parts of southern Utah from Park City. We had a great breakfast at a cute little bakery/bistro and began the journey.  Happy July 4th!!

It was about a 4 hr drive and again, the scenery was beautiful.

it's a rest area, and fake tracks! :)

We arrived in Moab, Utah early afternoon to 106 degrees. We checked in to our hotel, stocked up on our water and headed to the park. This afternoon would be driving around and getting acclimated to the climate.

Park Avenue

that sun beating down was HOT!!

3 Gossips

Balanced Rock

After dinner, we drove back in for sunset. Our goal was to get to the Windows Arches for sunset and we succeeded. The park is scheduled to be closed evenings all summer for construction, but they were open 24/7 for July 4th weekend. There were very few people because the signs still say closed evenings.  Thanks to looking at the NPS website and talking to the rangers at the visitor center, we found out the secret and had some great views with few people.

North Window Arch

Carleigh close to North Window

distance view of South Window

South Window Arch

distance view of North and South Windows

We tried to stay for night sky pictures, but the skies were cloudy and the moon was near full. We headed back to the room, caught some fireworks in Moab and tried to get some sleep. A 4:15 a.m. wakeup call was waiting for us as we are going to attempt to enter the park early and make the 2 mile hike to Delicate Arch (the iconic Arch of Arches National Park). Our goal is to beat the heat and the crowds!! Will we make it?

Stay tuned...