2015: Moab, Utah

Arches, Again

April 22


On our last day in Moab, we returned to the far end of Arches NP to see Landscape Arch, the longest arch in the world at 306 feet. We got there early and we had the trail to ourselves for about an hour. The one-mile trail to get there is flat and easy, and sports some interesting gnome-like rock formations along the way.

Landscape Arch is especially awe-inspiring because it's so precariously slender, the thinnest as well as the longest. In 1991 a 60-foot slab of 180 tons fell away from the right underside. Since then the trail underneath the arch has been closed to visitors. This arch in particular made me feel how tenuous its existence is; it might very well fall down in my lifetime.

Double O arch, as close as we got.

The trail to Landscape Arch continues to Double O Arch, but we were not going to tackle the extra three miles of rocky up-and-downhill clambering. Instead, we retraced our steps and visited Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch on a short side trail.

Double Arch, in there somewhere. And then there's this.

It was still early, so we returned to the Windows section of the park to check out Double Arch, which we'd skipped on our first trip because of crowds and bad light. Double Arch is fairly close to the road, but not visible until you approach it. Before you get there, though, there are some fairly interesting formations to see surrounding it.

THERE it is. Washed out.

As we walked the short, scrubby trail to Double Arch, we happened upon a repair crew replacing the stone that supports a walkway over a wash. Your tax dollars at work. In a good way, for a change.

From a distance, the size of these twin arches isn't apparent, but as you get closer and closer you get that insignificant feeling that this park is so good at provoking.

The climb up underneath the arches was too much of a scramble for my now-tired legs, but Mike decided to brave it and take a picture. He caught the beginnings of the darkening clouds forming in the distance. Sure enough, by the time we walked back to the car and drove out to the park entrance, it was starting to rain. Phew! Just in time. Even though I was sad to be leaving the red stone landscape, the storm seemed to be a message that it was time to go.

So the next morning we're about to pull out from Moab, heading for Mesa Verde. Mike leaves the door to the microwave oven open and turns his back for a minute. Peanut jumps into the oven and flips the ceramic turntable onto the tile floor, where it shatters into a million pieces. *Sigh*. Mike spent more than an hour vacuuming up the fragments. I spent more than an hour on the phone finding the right replacement and having it expedited to Santa Fe, NM where we expect to be in a few days. Life on the road can be, um, interesting.