Monday, July 6, 2015

Take 2: The Arches Devil's Garden

Hopefully you have read the post Take 1: The Arches, for this will be a continuation from that post. The day we did The Arches; Windows & Delicate Arch, we took a bunch of pictures and videos with Jamie's new camera but when we went to retrieve them, saw that somehow everything had been erased. Panic set-in...that was a full day of hiking, scouting, fun & what? How do we get them back without having to do the hikes again? We were both willing to do the day over, but were also ready to do some new hikes and see new sights. Jamie thought he might be able to recover them, so yesterday morning we woke, packed the van and went to the McDonald's in town for their wifi. We thought it would take about an hour or two, but after sitting and trying for a very long time, we were almost ready to give up. At the end of about 4 1/2 hours Jamie found a program called Jihosoft Photo Recovery that we had to buy at around $40.00. Sounds a bit pricey but now we have the program and can recover anything and, thankfully, were able to recover every single video and every single picture! Hooray!!
Although a bit mentally exhausted, the timing worked out well, for it was now rounding around to about 5 o'clock. It wasn't a very hot day so it was perfect timing for us to go back into the park to do a new hike. We drove into the Arches and headed for the North part of the park where Devil's Garden sits. We were pretty much the only ones at this part of the park now and with the Sun moving around the big fins of rocks, the van and the trails were getting a ton of shade.  
 This time I was much smarter about what I wore; a loose breathable tank, shorts, closed toes shoes and we both wore our Camelbacks for water...much nicer experience. We started on the trail walking between these gigantic fins on both sides of us, it winds up and down through trees, sand and cactus taking us to an open area with wooden fence posts around it. 

This area is the Landscape Arch~ a very cool area and arch that has been blocked off with the fence so people won't get hurt. In 1991 some people had hiked up to the arch and took a break sitting underneath it, they heard what they thought was thunder but was actually the archway rock breaking loose and falling to the ground, three slabs measuring 30, 47 & 70 feet long fell...I think I'm good standing behind the fence!
 There were a lot of people on this part of the trail so we took some pics and moved on a little faster than usual. The next part of the trail was about medium, some easy walking to some light climbing until I looked up and saw some people walking down these boulders...and I mean HUGE boulders going towards the heavens! 

Can you see the itty bitty people up top?
 I started doubting myself and my abilities and scaring myself. As I contemplated what I was going to do, the people now were closer to the bottom and saw that I was having some thoughts. They told me, "Grandpa just turned 70 and if he can do it, you can do it." Then Grandpa came down and said, "You've just gotta make it over those boulders, then you're home free!" 
 I appreciated the kind words but I felt like, Now I have to push past my fears and do it...ugh! We let anyone behind us go ahead and then started the climb...I climbed on all fours as Jamie walked up the rock behind me. It was scary and some parts were much scarier than others, but I did it and Grandpa was right, once on the top, the trail went back to trees, sand and slick rock.
No Fear!
  I can't remember how long the trail was to that point but once you get to the top you have a few options; Double O Arch which I think was another 2-3 miles, Navajo Arch & Partition Arch. Since the two arches were in the same direction, that made our decision. It turned out to be a pretty easy hike on flat ground and much more awesome than we had anticipated. 
 The Navajo Arch was the first of the two and (for me) the most amazing part of the park. We could definitely "see" people living here centuries ago. Everything was so green and lush and with the rock walls, the temperature was much cooler was like a cave but with a split in the ceiling. quite amazing to see. 

 As we were leaving we saw a guy by himself walking to the mouth, since he was alone I asked to take some pictures of him and was able to catch his reaction on film. He told us he had come from Germany a couple of years ago and came here last year but somehow missed this arch...the only reason for the hike today was just for this! Cool!!
Next up...Partition Arch, not a very long hike from Navajo, seemed like 50 yards or so but probably just a bit longer. 
 We sat and took in the view for a few minutes. I took my shoes off for a few brief minutes as feet are not used to being inside socks or shoes so they cramp up easily, gotta let those tootsies breathe! haha
 It is quite amazing to be able to see these arches in person as well as sit underneath them. It gives a whole new perspective to these giant features, it's so cool!
From here, we decided it was getting too late and would be dark in no time to do any more hikes to the further away arches so we started back for the van, we had a good 2 miles to go and my knee was pretty much done for the day. With the Sun starting to really retreat behind the massive fins and boulders, the view kept changing with different light hitting different areas and was really neat to see the trail like this.

And I had to climb down "Grandpa's big ass boulder"... that turned out to be way more scary than going up! But I did on all fours, backwards though, if you can imagine that!

We made it back, pretty much as the sun was setting...perfect timing! When we got back to the van the very first thing I did was take off those damn foot prisons (shoes) and found a big pile of sand in there....oh well, back to my flops for now! 
It was a beautiful hike on a beautiful evening and I am just so glad we were able to capture new memories and footage. I wonder what tomorrow will bring....?

Have a great day!


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