Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

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Moab is just a short drive from Arches National Park. We took Highway 191 North out of Moab, crossing the Colorado. The latter was rather brownish in color, and if it smelled the way it looked, I would not have appreciated a boat ride (which I had contemplated during my tentative trip planning). Off the Highway, it's a few more miles to the viewpoints; and I had planned to drive all the way to Delicate Arch first, and then stop at the other points on our way back.

Frontal view of Delicate Arch, thanks to a big zoom There are three possible viewpoints to Delicate Arch, each catering for a different type of tourist. The first one is easily accessible, being located just beside the parking, and the arch seems fairly insignificant in 0.75mi distance. The upper viewpoint (200 feet ascent, 0.5mi one-way) is a little bit more strenuous, but still requires you to have a large zoom to get a photo with just the arch on it. The real deal requires you to drive back to Wolfe Ranch and hike 1.5mi (one-way), which includes a strenuous 480 feet accent over slickrock. This is what we were about to do.

Wolfe Ranch, built by John Wesley Wolfe in the late 1800s, is the starting point for the Delicate Arch trail. From here, it's uphill with almost no shade. I took a few more pictures of the old ranch and surroundings, and then proceeded towards the arch.

A short distance from the top, you can see a small arch on your right. Scramble up the rock to be rewarded by an alternative view of Delicate Arch that fewer tourists know about, and which not only provides a different angle, but also some nice framing possibilities.

At the top of the trail, it was impossible not to be surrounded by fellow tourists. Some were having lunch, some were just taking in the view, others just posed for a picture and then headed downwards again. At times, it was difficult to take a photograph without someone else being in way, a theme that would reoccur on most trails in Arches National Park.

Close-up shot of Delicate Arch, after hiking up the strenuous "Delicate Arch trail" Viewed up close, Delicate Arch is certainly more impressive that from the lower viewpoints. It's only when you're standing right in front of it that you realize that it is indeed, huge, rising over fifty feet, with an opening of 45 feet high and 33 feet wide.

With plenty of time required for photography, the trail took us about two hours. After that, we headed back to Moab for lunch, shopping and refueling, before tracing back our steps into Arches National Park for another hike

It's at this point that I would like to stress the importance of carrying more than enough water. We took what we thought was enough. We would have needed more. We survived to tell the tale, and were not at risk from dehydration, but once you have to ration your water, you clearly didn't bring enough.

Our afternoon hike started off at Devil's Garden Trailhead. Heading North, you pass Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch (these two being a short hike to the side of the main trail), Landscape Arch, Wall Arch And Double O Arch. This is as far as we got, but a more determined hiker could still view four more arches in fairly close proximity.

The Devils Garden trail requires some scrambling over sandstone fins, so is not recommended for those who are afraid of heights. I'm not entirely comfortable with that, but found the trail to be well-maintained and not at all worrying.

The trail to Double O Arch is a mere two miles, but the heat made it seem like more.

A late-afternoon shot of Landscape Arch in Arches National Park Landscape Arch, with its 306 feet span is spectacular, but the afternoon sun made photography harder.

After drinking lots of water at the trailhead, we returned to our motel. In the evening, I went to the movie theatre to see "Planet of the Apes".

Written Sunday October 13th, 2002 in Luxembourg.

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Sleep Inn (Moab, UT): $80.33 plus 12.25% tax