Arches National Park
Saturday, October 4, 2014
We did two hikes today, the Delicate Arch Trail (3 mile round trip) and the Windows Trail (1 mile round trip).
The temperature was moderate (mid-60s to 70) but the sun was scorching. Trees and large rocks, which provided shade, were welcome but in short supply.
But we walked slow, stopped fairly often, and drank water to stay hydrated. I don’t think I drink enough – water, that is.
Delicate Arch Trail
The road to the trailhead is on the right about 11.7 miles from the visitor center. Trailhead parking is 1.2 miles down that road. As usual, parking was hard to come by.
I thought the trail to Delicate Arch was fun, even with the heat of the sun beating down on us. We climbed inclined slickrock, followed cairns marking the trail, and tiptoed around rock ledges.
Pet Peeve: Some humorons insist on “helping” hikers by building cairns, even though there are plenty of signs asking hikers not to.
But the view from the Delicate Arch was spectacular. (I say that a lot, don’t I? But it’s true.) The arches, cliffs, valleys, and mountains all molded into one beautiful vista was unforgettable.
On the way back, we took a short side trail to see some Ute petroglyphs. Modern day Native Americans still visit these, as well as other petroglyphs because it is a connection to their ancestors.
One of the more unlikely things to see in this parched, arid land, is a ranch. But see one we did. The Wolfe Ranch, consisting of a cabin, corral, and storage building. At one point, this ranch supported four adults and several children.
The road to the trailhead is on the right about 9.2 miles from the visitor center. The trailhead parking area is another 2.5 miles down that road. The parking lot was crowded but we found a spot without too much trouble.
A short (0.5 mile round trip) trail took us to Double Arch. According to the sign, Double Arch is a pothole arch. It starts as a depression near a cliff face. Water collects in and deepens the depression. Water seeps through the cliff face and forms an alcove. Eventually, the hole and the alcove meet forming an arch.
In the image below, South Window is to the left and North Window is to the right. To me the Windows look like a ginormous (granddaughter Chloe’s current favorite word) Lone Ranger or Zorro mask.
And just to prove that looks can be deceiving, this land is not barren. There is life here, as the lizard and wildflower show.