Monday, August 14, 2017

Return to Arches

The road to Devils Garden is open! We won't miss it after all.

Photo © by Judy Wells.
Again we are out early. The drive gives us a look at a different terrain, more arches and fascinating rock formations.
Photo © by Judy Wells.

Once we hit the trail trees provide blissful moments of shade for the curving trek up through canyons narrow and wide.

Photo © by Judy Wells.
The surface shifts from rock to sand which means Landscape Arch is just ahead.

Landscape Arch. Photo © by Judy Wells.
A rail fence has been built to keep visitors from getting too close or underneath. Landscape, with a span of 290.1 feet, is fragile, only 6 feet at its narrowest point. In recent years three chunks - 30, 47 and 70 feet - of Entrada sandstone have fallen off. Experts are divided on whether or not that weakened the structure, giving it less weight to hold up or taking away strength.

We consider ourselves lucky to have seen it intact. Actually, we feel fortunate to experience Arches and are loath to leave.

The Gossips. Photo © by Judy Wells.
We photograph formations we may or may not have caught already and more closely examine the exhibits at the Visitor's Center and see the film a second time.

We had heard that a scenic road loops from the south side of Arches, up into the La Sal Mountains and then back into Moab. Always ready for a road adventure, we drove on.

Photos © Judy Wells.
The views of the red canyon walls were humbling, and it’s hard not to stop and just stare.

Rafters on the Colorado. Photo © by Judy Wells.
The river runs alongside and soon we spied groups of rafters. In the heat of the day, this activity looked appealing.
Photo by Debi Lander.

Photo © by Judy Wells.
We continued driving, passing ranches and small farms and lots of fascinating rock towers.

Photo © by Judy Wells.
But, when we followed directions and made a turn, we came to a sign stating the road was closed for repairs.  Dang, we were just starting to get into the cool mountain air. 

We returned to Arches when most of the visitors were leaving but some like us were arriving for sunset. This time Debi headed to the Windows and I went to Turret.

Windows at sunset. Photo© by Judy Wells.
Think I got the better of the deal. The light on Windows was extraordinary and view through Turret was intriguing, especially when someone wandered up to stand under the massive rock and was dwarfed by its size.

Dwarfed by the Turret. Photo © by Judy Wells.
The relatively flat slickrock made going from one viewpoint to the other easy, but as sunsets go, this one was a dud. No clouds for dramatic effect.

Not a very dramatic sunset. Photo © by Judy Wells.
We returned to the car, sat for awhile hoping for darkness then headed to Park Avenue to wait for the stars to emerge. Unfortunately, we mere met by hordes of hungry mosquitoes ready for dinner. We swatted and slapped, saw the stars and decided to leave the biters before we came dessert as well.

Sad to leave this red rock country tomorrow but its images will stay in our memories forever.

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