The Arches is a geological site where there are many ancient sandstone rock formations
. As the sandstone wears away they form majestic towers and arches. We didn't arrive until 6.30pm so as we drove in we saw many of the formations at sunset which is the most colorful time of the day. The campground is about 13 miles into the park at the far end. While Max set up the new tent I organized the propane barbeque and got dinner started. Our campsite was in a magnificent location overlooking a colorful valley as well as some of the large heaps of stone. We built a campfire and with the temp a balmy 65F we enjoyed the evening. Our first night in the tent was good - the large queensize air mattress was comfortable, the only disappointment was that we didn't realize when we bought the tent that it was mostly mesh under the fly - good for hot days, but not so good if you want the tent to warm up a bit on a cool night. This turned into a blessing in disguise because the next night we went to a Ranger talk about the night sky. He said that The Arches is one of the 8 best locations in the US for viewing the stars and that night was very clear so we would get a magnificent view of the stars. Since it was a warm and still night we took the fly off and literally slept under the stars! It really was awe inspiring, tho' the Milky Way was still not nearly as clear as we see it in Summertown!
We only had one full day at the Arches, but we fit in a lot. The first thing in the morning we reorganized the packing of our containers and the back seat of the truck, so we didn't get out exploring 'till about 11am
. By then the temperature was already in the 80's, so we did a short hike to "Broken Arch" which started in the campground. It's not one of the arches that is on the main "tourist track" so it was quiet and we only saw a handful of other people which was nice - and actually I think it was one of the nicest ones we saw too. After that we went to the popular "Devil's Garden" area which has several walks - the main one we went to see was "Landscape Arch" one of the longest arches in existence at around 300 ft.
After these two walks, the temperature was now in the 90's we decided we'd had enough walking for awhile and drove to the nearest town for a bit of grocery shopping, petrol and lunch. Back at our campsite in the evening we went to the talk about Astronomy by a very enthusiastic ranger.
The next morning we packed up and began the next leg of our trip - to Colorado via Highway 128 along the Colorado River - the same river that eventually runs through the Grand Canyon.
Here's a few YouTube links with much better movies than we could take- you'll feel like you've been there too if you watch these! Arches National ParkThe Arches at SunsetHighway 128 Colorado River
Next stop, Colorado!
While we were in Salt Lake City Max saw a pop-up trailer that he thought we should consider buying. I was tired (and a little cranky by then) so wasn't interested in considering it 'till I'd had a good night's sleep. We went and looked at it the next day and although it was 6 years old it was in excellent condition, but in the end the final price was more than we were willing to pay... so Plan B - buy a tent and air mattress! We went into a Sam's Warehouse (like Costco) and they were offering a 10 week membership for $10 - what a deal! Sam's is a huge store that sells goods in bulk and very cheap, so it was good to be able to get a membership. We bought a small tent and air mattress with a pump (only $20) and had a hotdog and coke for $1.50 each and we were on our way south to the Arches National Park.