Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Arches NP, Utah & a Jeep Ride

The most recognizable arch in the park probably is this, the Landscape in the Devil's Garden section, at the very end of the 15 miles or so drive.  From wiki: 
Arches National Park is a U.S. National Park in eastern Utah. It is known for preserving over 2000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations.
The park is located just outside of Moab, Utah, and is 119 square miles (310 km2) in size. Its highest elevation is 5,653 feet (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte, and its lowest elevation is 4,085 feet (1,245 m) at the visitor center. Forty-three arches have collapsed due to erosion since 1970. The park receives 10 inches (250 mm) of rain a year on average.
Administered by the National Park Service, the area was originally designated as a National Monument on April 12, 1929. It was redesignated as a National Park on November 12, 1971.
I guess some would argue that Delicate Arch is more recognizable.  We didn't hike the 3.2 miles in & back on the trail to Delicate Arch, even though we snapped a few pics from about a mile away.  They didn't turn out too good however as I didn't have my tripod with me.

Delicate Arch; as I said, it doesn't look too good, .

Miss Nancy in Pine Tree Arch.  She liked this one the most.

We didn't hike to most of the arches or attractions in the park, as it was threatening rain all afternoon.  And, I can't remember the names of most of them either.

Cildren playing in a sand pile between two "fins".  What is a fin?  From Wiki:  Over time, water seeped into the surface cracks, joints, and folds of these layers. Ice formed in the fissures, expanding and putting pressure on surrounding rock, breaking off bits and pieces. Winds later cleaned out the loose particles. A series of free-standing fins remained. Wind and water attacked these fins until, in some, the cementing material gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out. Many damaged fins collapsed. Others, with the right degree of hardness and balance, survived despite their missing sections. These became the famous arches.

Balanced Rock.
Joe in front of Pine Tree Arch.

Some of the famous spires
The Courthouse formation

This photo was taken in the morning, as well as the following photos on our Jeep ride to The Arches NP.  We drove down Long Canyon Road that starts just outside the Dead Horse Point SP.  This park is up on the mesa from Moab about 1500 feet, and it overlooks the Colorado River valley.

The river is wide in some places, but nonetheless, had a strong current and was up and muddy from the recent rains and snow melts.
The start of Long Canyon Road and smack in the middle of Big Horn Sheep lambing & birthing grounds.  We didn't see any though, darn it!
This was taken just as we started down the mesa.
Down we go.  This road was about half the distance from the road we took yesterday, and not as rough.
You got to be kidding me!  The road goes under this rock.  Can we fit under that?

Plenty of room.  The big slickrock was chunky and pretty rough however under the rock, cause they can't get a dozer under there to smooth the road.

We made it through and on we go.  The ride was about 14 miles on dirt/gravel/rock and about 14 miles paved on UT 279 along the Colorado River.

Pretty bumpy along here.

Jug Handle Arch at the end of the road as it runs into UT 279.

On UT 279 the cliffs are about 400 feet straight up along the river, and go for about five miles like this.  The cliffs are literally right beside the road.  Rock climbers are along about a mile stretch and the speed limit is 5, to keep from running over these young folks.  They are all over the place.  Along this stretch also are about 500 petroglyphs and I have provided some close-ups with the help of my 280mm lens.  They were pretty high up on the cliff walls.

Don't know what they are, but were cute along the road.  Well, we better run for now.  Next stop will be Saint George, UT and on the radar screen is Zion & Bryce National Parks.  Our Washer is broke also and we will be here till Tuesday 4/26, at least, as we are waiting for a part to come from the east coast.  A local Whirlpool shop is working on it.  So, Happy Easter to all and see you in the next blog, Joe & Nancy.