Friday, August 10, 2012

Arch Chillin

August 8

We left Thompson Springs on what for this area is a well-traveled road.  A vehicle actually drove by us in the first two hours!  I have been getting up early with my family, trying to take advantage of the cool mornings.  I prefer to have my daily heat stroke during the later part of the hike.
There was little to see unless your turn-ons include scrub grass, sand, small cacti, and dull-colored rocks.  The highlight was a couple of pronghorn antelopes who paid their respects to Colin and I.  These animals are quite curious, often following along at a safe distance for up to fifteen minutes.  Fellow pronghorns, please note this distance is only safe because we are not carrying rifles.
Mom joined me for the next six miles and we turned onto 191, which is actually full of traffic headed to Arches and Canyonlands.  We would be following shortly, but first let me tell you about all the exciting stuff that happened while we were walking together.  We left 191 and began another deserted country road.
Now that's over I will be pleased to tell you tales of Arches.  Located to the northwest of Negro Bill Canyon and Jackass Canyon, Arches National Park is a wonderland.  If God is a little boy than sandstone is his Play-do and he clearly had a ball turning it into the shapes we saw.
Balanced Rock, Park Avenue, and the Petrified Sand Dunes were all on display in this natural art gallery.  The arches were the clear star, however, the tourists playing paparazzi, recording images of erosion's finest works before they disappear.
Some do, in fact, collapse.  Landscape Arch lost a sixty foot wide chunk of rock recently, but despite the weight loss maintains the proper form, if barely.
A three foot opening in a rock is required to earn the title of "arch."The park has over two thousand qualifiers, the most of any spot in the world.
The only downside for the summer visitor is the intense heat.  We arrived at eleven and were beaten into submission by three.  Our savior lay only a few miles south of Arches in the form of the Moab Brewery.  Cold beer for the boys and a tea followed by gelato for mom dropped our temperatures to a normal level.  I wonder if I could fit the Brewery and their lovely A/C unit in the baby jogger....

12 miles/3044 total miles

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