Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hike Number 3 - Delicate Arch

I am writing 10 posts about my 10 favorite hikes, here is more information.

Trail: Delicate Arch
Ranking: number 3
Where: Arches National Park
When: July 2005
Cost: At the time we used a $50 National Park Pass
Who: I was with a very good friend of mine, who at that time was also my roommate

During the summer of 2005, before I started grad school, I was very fortunate to spend a week hiking and or visiting 5 National Parks in Utah. 

I was thinking of combining the entire week of hikes into one entry, but then decided to pick my favorite. 

Sometime in late 2004 or early 2005, my roommate and I watched Aaron Ralston’s account of slicing off his hand while stuck in a canyon slot in Utah. He was being interviewed by Tom Brokaw, so it was probably a Dateline special. The story is a great one, I am amazed he survived. But my roommate and I were also mesmorized by the scenery.

I text my friend Jeremy and asked “What city should one fly into if one wanted to hike/see five Utah National Parks?” He said Vegas, and we were sold. I got over my fear of flying momentarily and we flew to Vegas in the hot, dry July heat. I think it was 122 degrees when we landed, but that could be an exaggeration. The pilot joked about scrambling an egg on the sidewalk. No matter, the air conditioned casinos kept us busy.

The next day we bought a cooler, filled it with goodies and spent the entire day drving our rental car to Moab, Utah. The route covered a patch of Interstate 70 where there were "No Services For Next 100 Miles." We arrived in Moab just as the sun was setting. Gorgeous.

The next day we hiked Arches, and the day after that we hiked Canyonlands. Then we drove through Capitol Reef, stopping to hike and picnic, and then that afternoon we spent in Bryce Canyons. (highly disappointing to spend only one afternoon there). The next day we drove to Zion, did a hike and then returned to Vegas to play some slots. Finally the last day we flew back out. What a week!!

So you see how I had to add something from that memorable week to my countdown. I just realized, we never did make it back to Bryce Canyon - my favorite park by FAR. I loved the mixture of tall pines and the red hoodoos. But we didn't technically hike in the park, we just drove to every scenic outlook and looked around. Super lame. 

I also enjoyed our time in Arches though (and really all the parks are awesome). The first day, in 105 degree heat, we hiked up to Delicate Arch. The hike it not strenuous, but damn was it hot. People who passed us said I looked like a tomato, even though I had SPF 30 on. 

We parked at Wolfe Ranch and were on our way:

Can we put CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN on every sign, everywhere?

The trail was marked with a ton of cairns. Hiking this rock was blistering hot. 

Shade! The trail went through a hole in the rock!

And boom there was delicate arch on the other side! A lady took our pictures and insisted I put on more sunscreen. I obliged. 

I do NOT look like a tomato!

I was shocked to find out people can actually hike right up to Delicate Arch. There are no signs saying to stay off. But we limited our time there. It was hot as hell, but it was nice to have the place to ourselves and not deal with other tourists!

We returned to Moab, only 5 minutes away, to get gatorade and ice cream. we went for a swim in the motel pool and took naps. I felt much better. We returned to the park in the evening, when it was much cooler. 

A couple pictures from other parts of Arches:

Skyline Arch
Bonus: You can't go to Moab and Arches NP and skip out on Canyonlands. The problem was, that park is so big, where would we hike? We ended up hiking up a plateau, full of hideouts, and doing the easy, popular loop to Mesa Arch.

YES - I am afraid of flying but NOT afraid of heights. 

When we did the short hike to Mesa Arch another young woman latched onto us, gave us her life story, told us why she was limping then inviting us sky diving. It was so odd, when we returned to our car all we could do was laugh. And then, after hiking in heat all day - we got silly and just could not stop laughing as we saw the woman in her car behind us. 

We returned back from Arches and Canyonlands and did some touristy stuff and had dinner in hole in the wall places each night. Of course I don't remember many of the details, but I really liked Moab - I had it on my places to live before I chose Alaska!


  1. These pictures are great! It really makes me want to go back and revisit those parks. You want to hear something sad? I think that the only photos I took of Arches are on a roll of film that I don't think I ever developed...and that was maybe 10 yrs ago? I loved Zion too. I think I could definitely live in and explore that area forever!

    1. My pictures were on film too. I had 10 rolls from that week. I refused to let them be x-rayed at airport security - which caused the workers to roll their eyes and have a good laugh at me. Have you been to Bryce Canyon? They have tepees you can rent and stay in. Well. they did in 2005.

    2. I love film but now that it's hard to find any place that develops it (without sending it off) my film just sits in the canisters hoping to one day be developed.

      I have been to Bryce but didn't stay at the teepees. This was a long time ago. I know we hiked several trails, one being the popular one down into the canyon. I remember it was SO hot and the worst thing about that trail was that it went down first, which was easy, and then we had to hike back up in the heat. Ugh.

      The hottest I feel like I've ever been was hiking up to Angel's Landing in Zion. It was well over 100 degrees and I felt sick.

  2. LOVE this one! Plus, it's a hike I've actually done! Well, I don't think we did the exact trail and I think Delicate Arch was in the background instead of leading directly to it, but pretty close.

    I can't believe you did the Utah parks in July! I think I would die. We did the Utah parks twice - once in late March and once in October, and the weather was perfect.

    We camped (in an RV) in Arches and that park has an AMAZING campground! Zion is still one of our favorite parks - we didn't hike Angel's Landing (too chicken, though I kind of want to conquer it one day) or the Narrows, we just did some shorter hikes around the park, but it didn't matter because that whole park is gorgeous. We hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and like Veronika, it was steep (and SO muddy) climbing out of the canyon. It was also steep and ICY going down into the canyon...I think I may have slipped and fallen on my arse! Canyonlands was a day stop for us, so we didn't get to hike. We stopped the RV at a picnic area overlooking the canyon and ate lunch - amazing. We all agreed that must go back there one day and hike - we were all surprised at how much we loved Canyonlands. (Our friends initially didn't want to stop there because they thought it couldn't compare to the Grand Canyon. They were wrong though - I'm sure it's not the same as GC, but Canyonlands is still pretty amazing.)

    Now I want to go back to Utah! We LOVED that area, too - Utah gets such a bad rap for being a weird state, but I think it's one of the most beautiful states I've ever been to. At least the southern part is.

  3. Continued education..."red hoodoos"...had to look them up. Saw the photos, but no explanation of the name hoodoo. Any thoughts?
    As I am not a hiker, I admire the enery and fitness that goes into that effort. Putting up with that heat!!!wow!


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