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Sun Nov 04 2012: Arches to Another World

We have unfinished business in Utah. As mentioned before, one of our earliest motorcycle trips was a whirlwind 18-day trek from Toronto to San Franciso and back. During that trip, we visiting most of the National Parks in the SW US, but only having a limited amount of time, we spent most of it on the back of the motorcycle, not seeing anything but the park from the side of the road. Arches National Park was a bookmark that we just had to revisit, and this time around, we promised that we wouldn't leave until we'd seen everything.

Arches National Park, Three Sisters rock formation up ahead

We made good on that promise, lazing around the park for four days, spending the days hiking the trails around the area, and the nights freezing our butts off inside the tent. The landscape is straight out of a Road Runner cartoon! Other-worldly-shaped orange rocks thrust up out of the ground, some of them precariously balancing larger rocks on small skinny stems - the result of erosion eating away at the softer layers of the sand and rock that history has laid down.

Weather was beautiful during the day, freezing at night, but the night sky was so clear!

One of the things that was very important to us was hiking up to the Delicate Arch, as we didn't have opportunity the last time we were here. It's about an hour uphill hike to a remote spot where the arch can be viewed. There are over 2,000 arches in the park, spanning from a few feet to over a hundred feet in height! Very breathtaking to view.

Hiking the Delicate Arch Trail

Window to the Delicate Arch

We arrived in the early afternoon and settled down to wait for the best time to view the Arch - sunset. We were told that that was the magical time that elves and unicorns would emerge from the portal created by the sun's rays hitting the Delicate Arch.

We take our seats like everyone else and wait for the show to begin

This guy must have shelled out primo for balcony seats

Things to do when you're waiting for the elves and unicorns

This lady brought her Staff of Infinite Mysteries to help open the portal

"... and then the Earth cooled..."

No elves. No unicorns. But pretty, anyway...

Neda takes her photography very seriously, risking life and limb for that perfect shot

Ok, enough hiking and picture-taking, time to do some riding!

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