I'd developed a ritual at the Portal resort: put on my swimsuit, pack a towel and shampoo and soap and clean undies in a bag, go to the hot tub for a half-hour, then take a long hot shower in the big, tiled showers in the pool house. Heavenly! But tomorrow, we had to move into the low-rent section. *Sob*.
Today we were going on the big hike to Delicate Arch. It's not a long distance, only 1.5 miles to get there, but with a few hitches. The first part of the trail is nice level gravel, but then it quickly turns into uneven slickrock heading straight up, for a 500' elevation gain. It took some time, but I did OK. Mike and I passed a couple of people who were clearly not going to make it, allowing me to feel superior.
After the slickrock came a precarious ledge around the back of the bowl where the arch stands. This was another of those places where I'm amazed they actually let people put themselves in mortal danger. Did I sign a waiver I forgot about, or is it just that the federal government isn't liable for anything?
We knew we were getting close as we approached a sizable audience -- a mob, even -- sitting on rocks just past the end of the ledge. And then...there it was!
There were some crazy-ass photographers clinging to the sheer cliffs below the arch like human flies. I couldn't figure out how they got down there, much less how they were going to get back up.
Apparently the end goal of this trek is to get your picture taken beside or underneath the arch. At one point a long queue formed waiting for this opportunity. After Mike and I got our turn, my interior photographer took over and I wrangled one camera after another.
Eventually we cleared the way for the next wave and retired to a safe distance for a snack.
Oh, yeah, there was one other activity going on besides the photo ops. I had the distinct feeling this was not the FIRST time this particular scene took place here. Naturally it got a round of applause.
After a while it was time to head back. While taking in the arch, we had noticed some people across the way from the bowl on a rocky promontory, so on the way down we looked for a path over. Why? More photo ops, of course!
Amazingly, we weren't completely exhausted back at the car, so we decided to visit another area called the Windows.