Utah--Arches & Moab--Fiery Wanderings...

Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
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Trip End Jul 12, 2009


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Where I stayed
Riverside Oasis RV Park

Flag of United States  , Utah
Friday, June 5, 2009

DAY 48, Tuesday, June 2--The Fiery Furnace Ranger Walk was on the agenda for today. Our advice to all, the sooner you travel to hike these national parks the better, because the older you get, the harder it is. Not many of us are used to scrambling over rocks and edging our ways along narrow ledges through fins with drop-offs below. The Arches NP Fiery Furnace tour was about as challenging as Angel's Landing Trail in Zion, yet there was no way to quit once you started-you could never find your way out of the maze. This trail was not so steep, but you had to use your hands and feet to get up over big "slickrock", squeeze through passages less than 2' wide, and nimbly pass over narrow gorges on ledges. Hiking sticks were a hindrance rather than a help. At times, we felt like a cross between a billy goat and Spiderman. Fortunately, we had several young athletic men on the trip who were eager occasionally to lend a helping hand to help others get up a high boulder or over a wide gap. The wet, red sand that stuck to our hiking boots, reducing our traction, was the biggest problem. We don't think they've lost anyone yet in the canyon, but the youngsters had a much easier time-Visit now, don't wait till you get over 35!

After the hike, we had lunch at a great Moab Restaurant, Pasta Jays. In the evening, too tired to hike anymore, we drove the Scenic Byway Rt. 279 to Potash. It parallels the Colorado River with high red cliffs on the other side. There it was cool to see the rock climbers scaling the red face walls. This, too, is a sport the very young, if they can afford it. The equipment to climb is very expensive, probably over a thousand $ for all the clips, ropes, etc. Many young women climbing, that was interesting. Driving on, we saw two sites of petroglyphs on the canyon walls and dinosaur tracks. This Byway was worth the time.

DAY 49, Wednesday, June 3--Today, we got up early to fly over Canyonlands NP on a small sightseeing plane with Slickrock Air. This NP is difficult to see much of from the roads and overlooks. It is so huge that parts of it are a hundred miles apart. We will post pictures from the air.

Afterwards in Moab, we hiked uphill more than mile to a large span of Indian Pictographs and Petroglyphs at Courthouse Wash, an Arches site on Rt.191. What's the difference? Petroglyphs are scratched into the desert varnish of the rock with a sharp instrument; pictographs are painted on the rock with some sort of natural fiber brush. Climbing up and searching to find them was a challenge we were proud of, and as said before, these hikes are easier when you are young. Start planning your trip...The panel of rock was approximately 52' X 19'.

In the evening, not wanting to miss one of the major arch attractions at Arches NP, we took the moderately strenuous 3-mile hike at sunset to Delicate Arch. The hike out was about an hour uphill, much of which was on slickrock, and then to summit, along a ledge wrapping around the mountain. We finally made it. The sunset was again subdued because of the clouds, but just getting there with all the other adventuresome tourists was a satisfying accomplishment. A strong breeze came up, making us think a storm was imminent, so about that time, most of us decided to head back quickly. Nobody wanted to be caught out there in the desert 1 miles from the parking lot.

Tomorrow on to Salt Lake City...
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