Arches of Greatness

On Monday morning we got up early and headed out to Arches National Park to watch the sun rise. I did some research to see where we should watch the sun come up. I guess a lot of people head out to Delicate Arch, the most famous arch, but it was recommended that we go to the Windows instead. We drove into the park and made it to the Windows at sunrise. Thankfully that was 7:30 due to winter. I’m not sure we would have made it any earlier. There was a mountain in the way but we were finally rewarded with this view:

We explored the Windows before driving out to the Delicate Arch trail. When we arrived, the whole area was full of frost. It was beautiful:

The sign said the hike was only 1.5 miles. What it didn’t mention was that it was straight up the rock with few trail markers.

We weren’t sure we were even headed in the right direction until some nice soul placed some cairns to tell us we were headed in the right direction.

We passed a family headed down who told us we were almost there. I’m not sure what their definition of almost is, but I guess it’s all relative as we still had a bit of a hike in front of us.

Nowhere in the description did the trail mention that you have to scramble up the side of the mountain. After some second guessing and following well placed cairns,we finally made it to this carved pathway hugging the side of the mountain.

Thankfully, just around this corner was the Delicate Arch:

It was really hard to photograph as the sun was right behind it. I’m not sure why the people of the internet felt this was better for sunset as I think the sun would have rose right in the arch. Perhaps they were afraid of falling off the mountain in the dark trying to get there.

We passed several more people on the way down than we did on the way up so everyone else must have slept in. I tried to be helpful and tell them that the trail is a little better marked once you get off the solid rock but most people seemed confused as to why I was talking to them.

At the bottom of the trail there was a series of petroglyphs on some of the stones. They are men riding horses chasing big horn sheep:

As we still had a long drive ahead of us, we finished driving through the park which ends at the Devil’s Playground:

We didn’t have time to hike it but there is a camp ground there so we’ll just have to go back. We left Moab and headed for Denver. Thanks to traffic and snow, it took us a bit longer to make it than we expected but the scenery was beautiful.

Have you ever gone on a hike you thought would be pretty straight forward only to find yourself unsure of where you were headed? How did you find your way? Did you try to help people out on your way back?

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