Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Utah...Life Elevated

Moab, Utah is only about 1.5 hours away from Grand Junction heading down Hwy 70 and there was no better opportunity than to just drive for some Utah hiking. My only hope is that I'm not picked up by a Polygamist wanting me to join him as his 8th wife. Okay, that was a slight joke, but funny. The ride up there was beautiful, fast (75 mph speed limit, but of course, I blew throught that), and hardly any people or cops.

My plan was to go to Arches National Park first, stop in Moab for lunch, and then head over to Canyonlands National Park to watch the Annual Jeep Jamboree event. Since it's National Park Week, the admission was free again. I went in to the Visitor Center to find out the best trail for my skills and it was recommended to go to the Delicate Arch Trail. It is roughly 3 miles and a steep climb towards the end, but well worth the view. I bought some water and a hat circa Cuba Revolutionary style (so that will answer to my mother and stepfather on previous post) and then headed out in my car. The road was steep and crazy, but oh so freaking beautiful. It was hard to pay attention to the road, because my head was everywhere.

Check out my new Cuba hat...no mother, I'm not turning in to a Communist.

Since it was only 9:30 a.m., I easily found a place to park and got myself ready to go. I did bring shorts, but I was wearing jeans at this time since it was breezy and cloudy (this changed as I reached the steep part). After walking a bit and seeing the historical house (not that big of deal), I took off my long-sleeved shirt and put on sunscreen for my exposed (and burnt may I add) arms; I was wearing a tank top. There were 2 paths that I could have gone and I chose the upper part; I figured I would hit the lower one on my way out to see the petroglyphics of Native Americans.

I started climbing this big open area and boy was that steep. Now, I was wishing that I had shorts. Yes, I know that I should have bought those NorthFace zip short/pants like Ashley, but I didn't want to go 2 sizes up and hurt my ego. I realized now that that was a mistake. I took a lot of breaks on this climb, but I was also checking out the scenery and looking for secluded trees that I could have changed in to my shorts (I did bring them, but it didn't get really hot until I started this part of the hike).

I saw these rocks throughout this climb just stacked up. I meant to ask why, but I just didn't get to it. To me, it's like a marker of some sort or a grave. Who knows?

This beautiful flower was just sticking out of the rocks like it belonged there, but you knew it really didn't.

There was this majestic bird perched on the top of the rocks and I couldn't tell what it was, but I think it was a Hawk or something. However, this moron on top of the rock wanted to get his photo with it and scared it off. Grrr on people.

On my way up, almost to the top, I got a text message that I was excited to know that I got service. Unfortunately, it was really disappointing news and put me in to a bad mood. By the time I reached the Arches, I was annoyed. I tried to sit alone by myself on this rock to just enjoy the view and relax, but that's when about 50,000 kids showed up. It was full classes of kids and of course, they all crowded around me. Note to self: Don't go to a National Park during National Park Week and Spring Break for Utah kids. While I was sitting there, I saw this man in probably his 40s or 50s take one step and basically hold on to the rocks for dear life. He was breathing heavy and looked like he would die. He did have someone watching over him. I assumed he was okay, because I didn't see him again and there were no ambulances or helicopters that showed up.

I tried to take a picture of just the arch without some random person in the middle, but it took forever. In fact, one older gentleman was standing there for 10-15 minutes and then his wife came over for another 5-10 minutes. After sitting there waiting and waiting, I decided to leave.

As I was hiking down, there were so many people everywhere congesting up the trails. I actually tried to get away from this loud German couple in front of me and this really fast guy that was on my toes (leaving his struggling wife behind since he hardly looked back to make sure she was okay), but that guy followed me and then I would always end up smacking in to the German couple. I opted out of going to the lower part of the trail and just took off. I was debating on going in to Moab to eat and cool off, but it was still early and I decided on just heading back to Grand Junction to eat. I was still upset and didn't want to be around people. Needless to say, my trip was not great even though I was surrounded by such beauty.

I do highly recommend Delicate Arch, because it is such a wonderous site and only mildly strenuous. I plan to come back again and really have a better experience now that I know how close it is to Grand Junction (I know I will be back and probably in 2 weeks). I will also never EVER answer my cellphone even if it goes off at the top of the mountain.


  1. Those rock piles are trail makers. Some of them are staked into place with a piece of rebar through holes drilled in the rocks. A simple stack means you are on the trail. If there is a small rock off to the side, it means go that way (but I suspect that those small rocks would get kicked away unless they are super glued in place).

    Congratulations on the hat. Now you need a pocket knife, mirror, magnifying glass, compass, and portable GPS (like the one you got from me some time ago - the Garmin - which can plot your hike). And those zip off pants. Try sportsmansguide.com.

  2. You definitely captured the depth of the Delicate Arch. I love the long shadows from the early sunrise. Arches is a beautifully place, and I will be back next year.

    I love your hat, and I was actually going to buy that same hat when I was in the gift shop in the Visitor's Center. Also, I am glad you heeded my advise, and took water, sunscreen and hat.

    I felt the same way . . . so much to look at and so much to photograph.


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