It's been so long since I've done a post. We have been Boondocking at a location (Big Bend Campground in Moab) with no cell reception at all so posting to the blog is impossible unless we come to town.
I am now doing my laundry and have a moment to post via my phone.
We spent about four days at Arches National Park. Another couple of days we spent at Canyonlands. We also went to Dead Horse State Park. We did more hikes than I can recount, and saw so many beautiful things. Below is a summary and photos from some of the highlights.
We found a deserted campground (it filled up later and then emptied again over the course of the two weeks we were there) in the middle of a canyon with skyscraper-tall red cliffs all around. It was awe-inspiring. Here are some pics of our site and the views from it that we got to look at every day for two weeks!
I discovered an app called "Just Ahead" that gives GPS generated narrations for many national parks in the U.S. We decided to test it at Arches and did the drive of the entire park with the app on. It was well worth it ($14.99)! We learned things about the history of the people, the animals, the park itself and more. We definitely recommend trying it out. We also learned of another one called "GyPSy" but haven't tried that one yet. We will report when we have tried it and let you know if it's better or not. It is cheaper, so we are very curious.
Here are some pics from that first day. We did several of the shorter hikes and did the full drive.
Day 1 we did the drive with the pets in the car. The subsequent days we took Avery to doggy day care at Karen's Canine Campground. It's a bit pricey at $30/day, but we didn't have a lot of options as we wanted to do full days of hiking and exploring and dogs are not allowed on the trails in most/all (?) National Parks.
Delicate Arch is a challenging hike, but definitely well worth it. When I review the difficulty of hikes, you must keep in mind that I am a (currently) out-of-shape and over-weight person. I don't intend to stay that way, but what is "hard" for me could be easy for others.
Here are some pics from that hike. The one with the people underneath the arch is to show you how big the arch is. Yes, those people are us. :)
Park Avenue is a relatively easy hike: down a ton of stairs, across the valley floor, and then back to the stairs. However, my legs were pretty tired from Delicate Arch, so it definitely felt harder! The hike was well worth it though. We felt tiny beneath the towering cliffs. Really puts our existence in perspective.
DAY 3: DEVIL'S GARDEN TO DOUBLE O ARCH
This hike was my favorite hike but also the hardest hike. We saw six or seven arches total on that hike. We had to scramble up steep rocks and walk on ledges… It was way more technical than anything I've ever done, and it was definitely worth it! Here is an assortment of the arches we saw on that day.
DAY 4: DEAD HORSE STATE PARK & THE SUPER MOON AT WINDOWS IN ARCHES
This day was a busy day. We decided to take a break from Arches and head over to Dead Horse State Park. Partly because we could walk Avery there (most/all National Parks prohibit dogs on trails) and partly to see something different.
Dead Horse State Park is magical in its own right. Deep crevasses riddled the canyon floor. Interesting rock formations were abundant.
That night was the Super Moon and we decided to watch it at Windows in Arches. As night approached we made our way to the park and then hiked to North Window to stake claim to some "seats" on the rock. The pictures I took don't do justice, but I'm posting one anyway. The dusk photos were also taken during this hike.
Today we continued the "Just Ahead" app that covered Canyonlands National Park. This park, while close to Arches, was quite different, but very beautiful in it's own right. One of the highlights was Mesa Arch -- the only featured Arch in the park and probably the second most photographed arch in the area, second to Delicate Arch (mentioned previously in this post).
DAY 6: NEGRO BILL CANYON
Negro Bill Canyon was named after William Granstaff, a black prospector and rancher who grazed his cattle at that location during the late 1800s. There is some controversy around the name. Whatever the controversy may be, the hike is amazing. Be forewarned, however, you cross the creek by hopping rocks 9 times! So if you don't have good balance and good shoes, it would be very challenging. Also, near the end of the out-and-back hike, there is a huge bolder-wall that appears that you have to climb and scale it -- which we did on the way up -- and then discovered on the way down that there is a crevice you can squeeze your feet into to climb up and down those bolders.
DAY 7: POTASH ROAD PETROGLYPHS
We heard about walls of petroglyphs that are right on Potash Road, just past the 128 and before the Arches entrance on the left if you are headed north. (This is a big rock climbing area, if that is one of your sports.) At first we couldn't see them and we thought perhaps we were in the wrong spot, even though signs on the road indicated they were there. As we were searching the rock face for them, another man came up and in the course of conversation, he showed us how to find the petroglyphs. You have to look on the dark black patches of wall and fairly high up. Once you know how to find them, you realize they are all over the place!
Today we headed out to do a hike off Potash Road that we weren't able to do the day before: Corona Arch. It was one that we could bring Avery on, so she was excited about that. We headed up a steep natural rock staircase and walked the flat slickrock towards the arch. On the way we saw gardens of cairns that people had constructed. Quite beautiful. There are some ladders to climb, which are challenging but doable for most dogs. The arch was lovely. We had been having spectacular weather almost all the days prior (as you can tell from the photos), but today the weather shifted and as we came off the hike the rain began. We were glad to have a cozy trailer to come home to.
In between these days we had some lazy ones and some errand days which I won't bore you (or me) with. But these were the highlight days out of our 13 days in Moab. We want to return to Moab, if possible. It is an amazing spot. We wished we’d had time to see “birth rock” and that we’d had the time to see The Needles in Canyonlands. Also we wish we’d done the drive into the Lasalle Mountains for the 20-something mile loop. There is still lots to see when we return!