Canyonlands, no, wait, Arches again

The adventuring life isn’t always as glamorous as it may seem. Sometime your phone stops charging and you have to get a new one unexpectedly (sorry for the blogging delay.) Sometimes things can get pretty gritty, literally. I spent our first night beside the Colorado River with my head beneath the blanket to keep the blowing sand out of my face. Kate always sleeps like that so I don’t think she even noticed, though she did wake up when a strong gust of wind flattened the tent on top of us for a moment.

The road teaches you to be flexible. We drove up to Canyonlands National Park, but as we climbed the light drizzle turned into snow. It was blowing sideways and clouds gobbled up any views we might see by the time we reached the park, so we just grabbed the brochure and headed back to Moab for a planning session over $1 McDonalds coffees. We got a lot done, not knowing that soon all those plans would be changed. The road teaches you to be flexible.

We went to Arches in the afternoon and stuck to easy stuff because we didn’t want to brave slickrock in the rain. We got to see one of the longest, most impressive arches yet: Landscape Arch.

They must have already named Delicate Arch before they found this one. It looked like it was hanging on by a thread. It really drove home the sensation that we were lucky to be experiencing this ever-changing environment. If we ever return here there’s no guarantee we’d find it the same. Landscape Arch might stand for centuries or it might come tumbling down next spring.

Easy spur trails got us to Partition Arch. Looking through it felt like looking into a portal to a different world; it was clear how it got its name. Kate declared it her favorite arch so far.

If we’re picking favorites then the next one we found may be mine. Navajo Arch isn’t huge or high up, but creates an opening into a little pocket between rock fins. It’s a cozy little space, with just enough room for a few trees, a tent and a campfire.

The weather was holding out so we pushed into the more difficult trail into Devil’s Garden. It was not as hellish as you might expect and we got to see row upon row of parallel fins, weathering into arches, spires, and other strange shapes.

We nearly missed our goal and turn around point, Double O Arch. We met a couple other hikers confused at that point on the trail, and there were footprints going off in the wrong direction, so we took some solace in knowing we weren’t the only ones to get hung up there. We finally spotted the double decker arch and headed back.

The adventuring life isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. The road teaches you to be flexible. Sometimes things break down. Sometimes things that seem set in stone collapse into rubble. Sometimes the path is clear, sometimes it is hard to see. But we often get to choose who we walk it with. Take nothing for granted and appreciate what you have.

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