Monday, April 24, 2017

Arches National Park with Cathy

[Previously posted on FB 4/24] I made a token visit to Arches NP 18 years ago when visiting Moab. Cathy has never been to Moab or Arches before this visit. Needing a break from the bike, it was a good day to visit the park.
The park closes down hard nightly at 7pm throughout this summer due to reconstruction of all the roads at night. Trail areas will be shut down periodically too. There was no line to get in early this morning. The place was practically deserted! And no trailhead areas were closed yet.
We hit the Primitive Trail off the end of the park first. There were maybe 8 cars there. We hit the first couple arches together, then I went around the Primitive loop solo while Cathy checked out a couple of the closer in arches. I had no idea what the loop entailed. There was one scramble that made me think for a minute, like if I slip, where will I end up kind of thought. There were no people back here. The solitude was nice.
Upon reaching the Double-O arch most of the way around the loop, I finally encountered people. Cathy later said they were unloading by the busload. There was another scramble below the Navajo and Partition Arches, which Cathy didn't attempt. She is 4 months post knee replacement and is still regaining strength. She went out to Landscape Arch though.
After this loop (8.2 miles for me), we went over to one of the Park's feature attractions, Delicate Arch. This was 3 mile round trip hike with good deal of climbing. Cathy felt up to it. Lots of people out now, but there were still parking spots available. After leaving the parking lot, you come around a bend and hear people ask "are those people up there?" Yes. You go up that. Was pretty cool looking, although I worried about how Cathy's knee would like coming back down that constant grade.
Up top you wrap around on an exposed ledge. Cathy said I've gone far enough. Nooooo, only 100m to go and then the arch is right there! Others offered encouragement.
Wasn't quite a mob scene when we first got up there, but the crowd built. We hung around a good half hour or so, did the touristy thing of waiting in line to have a stranger take our picture under the arch. Felt just like the tourists I despise on Mt Washington waiting in line for photo op at 6288ft, except we did not take a train or car up here.
Cathy did very well. Many noticed the scar on her knee and knew exactly what she was experiencing. They had matching scars, one woman on both knees. Cathy hiked about 6-7 miles for the day with upwards of a thousand feet of climbing.
We stopped two other times as we made our way out of the park, at Sand Dune Arch and at the Windows Section. Both had cool features worth stopping for. My tally for the day was about 14mi with ~3000ft of climbing. Maybe not quite a recovery day, but at least I stayed off the bike. Primitive Trail Strava track.

Cathy starting out on Primitive Trail


Cathy and bugs

Tunnel Arch

Pine Tree Arch 
Cathy returning from Pine Tree Arch. Had these first two to ourselves.

Heading out solo on the primitive part of Primitive Trail. A trail weaves through those fins.

Section that gave me pause on Primitive Trail. Slot dead ends, had to scramble up fin to left.

Could one scramble all the way up there? Gave me the chills thinking about it! 

View down slot from Primitive Trail

Side spur out to Private Arch. Hadn't seen anybody in a good while, so it was very private.

Side spur out to Dark Angel. I'm sure others would call it something else...

La Sal's from ridge heading out to Dark Angel

Double-O Arch. Note smaller arch below prominent arch.

Return along tops of fins on Primitive Trail

Primitive Trail 
Side spur out to Navajo Arch

Side spur out to Partition Arch

Scramble up there that stopped Cathy from getting to Navajo and Partition Arches. Not visible from this angle is how deep the slot was along either side of this fin.

Landscape Arch. I remember visiting this one back in 1999.

The narrows heading out to Sand Dune Arch

Cathy at Sand Dune Arch

Playing around in narrow slot at Sand Dune Arch with Cathy.
Cathy heading up to Delicate Arch, with Cathy

Massive bulge of sandstone to scale on way to Delicate Arch, with Cathy

Scenery never sucked on way to Delicate Arch

Cathy doing fine in one of the more rugged sections on way to Delicate Arch

Cathy enjoying some easy trekking on way to Delicate Arch

The two of us on way to Delicate Arch

A cove I saw someone else scramble up to.

It was easy getting up there but not so easy getting back down.

The exposed ledge that Cathy at first refused to traverse. Only a hundred meters or so of this with a 100-200ft drop to the left.

And then just like that Delicate Arch appears with the La Sal mountains in background.

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Edge view of Delicate Arch

Back side of Delicate Arch. Few hundred feet straight down.

Cathy wanting to get out of the wind. There was zero wind until this point, then it picked up to like 25mph. Mild temps though.

Rare instant with no people in Delicate Arch

Cathy coming down from Delicate Arch

Almost down, new knee holding up fine.

Petroglyphs at the bottom

North and South Window Arches

Two of us at Turret Arch

I took the primitive trail around back side of North and South Windows.

View from back side of The Windows.

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