Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 5: Arches National Park

This may have been my favorite day of the entire trip. I got an amazing photograph (that I'd been planning to get from the beginning of the trip), got to explore a nearly empty national park, ate some delicious thai food, went to a yarn store that was right next to said thai restaurant, and then went on a hike to a swimming hole right as temperatures reached about 106 degrees outside. So much fun!
We got up for sunrise, and this is 'the shot' of the trip -- Turret Arch as seen through North Window.
Turret Arch Through North Window at Sunrise Turret Arch Through North Window
To get to this vantage point I had to do some creative rock climbing. There was another (super pro) photographer there that morning, so it was fun to chat about what we'd both already gotten shots of. We waited about 40 minutes for the sun to come out from the clouds, and it did for about 2 minutes before it went away again. Right as it came out a woman decided to stand right under the arch. Arrrgh! Luckily, she got axed by photoshop, bet ya couldn't tell!
After doing the short hike around the North and South windows, Nate and I headed to Double Arch to explore.
My 'explorer' pose:
Exploring under Double Arch
It was still before 7am at that point, so Nate and I had the place to ourselves. Arches was amazingly quiet and desolate. This was probably mostly due to the fact that we there so early. It was also nice going early because we missed the heat of the day.
Double Arch:
Exploring under Double Arch
There was no one else there when we got to the bottom of double arch. It was so peaceful and awe inspiring at the same time. Just so you can get a sense of the scale of the place, here is a shot of me under the front part of double arch:
Exploring under Double Arch
You can't even see the top of the front arch! After hanging out at double arch for a while, we went over to Delicate Arch. We had decided to do the upper viewpoint trail instead of the trail that goes right to the arch - it was starting to get pretty hot outside at this point. We were glad we made that decision. The trail was pretty easy, and there was a bunch of slickrock to the right of the viewing area. The rangers discourage people from going off of the trails unless you are on slickrock because it damages the ecosystems. We hiked the slickrock to the east of the viewing area for about a quarter mile, and were on the edge of a giant bluff with an awesome view of the arch.
Delicate Arch from Upper Viewpoint
There is no way to convey the scale of this shot. We sat down for a while to enjoy the view and I spotted a doe mule deer and her fawn frolicking around in a dried up creek bed. It was really amazing to watch them from our far away vantage point. The fawn was hilarious, you could tell it was just learning to jump because it bounced around like a super ball, unable to really control its direction. When we finally started to get a little hot, we headed back into Moab for some lunch. We had some amazing thai food at a restaurant that was a little bit off the main-street path (not a tourist hub like most places in Moab). There was also a cute little yarn shop next door! What luck! :)
After lunch we decided to hike to the Mill Creek Swimming Hole - a fun detour that is off the beaten path as well.
swimming
We hiked along mill creek for about 25 minutes until we got to the swimming hole. The water was nice, clean, and cool, and the whole area was in the shade. Unfortunately, we were too busy swimming for me to take pics of the actual swimming hole. There was a nice waterfall there as well. We hung around for about an hour and a half, and then hiked back to the car. That night we made some chicken, corn on the cob, and some smores. We slept like rocks!

2 comments:

abby said...

Oh Cassie- ALL of your shots are 'the shots'! haha AMAZING photography as always :) You're incredible!

Phoe said...

These pictures are wonderful!