Arches National Park
This blog post is gonna be picture heavy, you might want to grab a cuppa!
6am and we were awake, dressed and ready to get to Arches National Park for sunrise at 7.06am. We only had about a 7 minute drive to get to the entrance, and were quickly driving through the park to choose our spot. We both decided to give the most popular spots a miss as standing around with hoards of people just isn't our thing - A pattern that continues for the whole day. It wasn't long before we pulled into the 'Courthouse Towers' viewpoint.
We noticed that it was rather cloudy and wondered if we would get to see the sun lighting up the formations.
Although it may not as been as marvellous as some mornings it was still pretty amazing with the light hitting the sandstone and bringing the ruddy orange tones to life.
In the car and breakfasting on bananas and cheese we headed of to our next stop. We we're on the short trail around 'Balanced Rock' around 7.45am and it was still relatively quiet.
Yep, it does look pretty phallic from this angle!
The hard slick rock boulder on top of the mudstone pedestal could give way any time soon as the softer mudstone will weather much quicker the the harder rock that sits atop it.
We also got to see out first glimpse of one of the arches that the park is famous for.
Off to the next stop, ' The Windows Trailhead', this I think turned out to be my favourite spot, not too many people about and simply stunning. We first walked up to the 'Turret Arch'.
The onto the 'North and South Windows'.
Stopped to take a traditional foot selfie, the only way to get the arch in was to lay down on the rock, unfortunately Paul's abs weren't up to the job.
We continued round taking the 'Primitive Trail' back to the car with the most wonderful views.
Next stop 'Panorama Point', to see some beautiful views across Arches National Park.
Back at the car the weather had certainly warmed up, so sunscreen on before setting of again. Now 'Delicate Arch' was one of the most popular spots, so we decided to head just to the viewpoint rather then the trails - I'd heard its a bit like a conveyor belt waiting in line to get your photo under the arch.
It was a steep climb up to the upper viewpoint, and when we got up there it was full of people, so much chatter and I have to say we were rather underwhelmed.
However we did mange to take some good photos, can you see all the people up there?
Our final stop was at 'Sand Dune Arch', a hidden arch among the rocks with deep sand underfoot.
We then continued across a large open area towards 'Broken Arch'. We were fascinated by the Juniper trees that we were seeing everywhere, such interesting shapes.
Broken Arch is still fairly intact, but you could see where it had partially collapsed.
After a quick stop to empty the sand out of my shoes we were back on our way to the car and heading out of the Park. It was well passed midday and we had been in the park for over 6 hours, it was about 30C and very busy.
We made a brief stop at the visitor centre to get some information on where to view sunset - yep we were coming back later. As we were driving out we noticed that the entrance gate had at least 50 cars queuing to get it.
So, back to motel grabbing iced drinks on the way, which was very much needed. Around 2.30 we decided to grab some lunch and walked down Main Street to 'Fiesta Mexican Family Restaurant', we both enjoyed veggie burritos we ordered.
Then as we were walking back we stopped at the brewery where they sell house made gelato and ordered ourselves a banana custard and a ice cream cone vanilla. Suitably full we collapsed back at the room until it was time for sunset.
Back to the Park where we had about 15 minutes before sunset, we first pulled into 'Park Avenue' but felt it would be better viewed elsewhere so we made our way to the 'La Sal Mountains' to watch as the Mountains turn orange and the sun disappeared for the day.
The day wasn't quite finished there though, we decided to drive up to 'Panorama Point' and wait till it was fully dark and as the stars came out we were rewarded by the 'Milky Way'. Such a beautiful
awe-inspiring way to finish of an incredible day.
Fact of the day: Do you know the difference between a natural arch and a natural bridge? A arch is typically form by erosion created by wind and sand whilst a bridge typically is made by a current of water.