It was exciting to wake up in the desert the first morning, and enjoy the views from our nice little cabin in the middle of nowhere. After a lazy morning, we drove to Arches National Park, a park with over 2000 natural sand stone arches. We bought a pass that allows entry to all national parks for a year, as we will be visiting many 🙂 Our first stop in the park was Balancing Rock. There is a short trail that goes all the way around the rock pillar, so you can admire it from all angles 😉 We were not used to the heat yet, and were taking it very easy. Until a tour bus full of pensioned people arrived and we decided it was time to leave!
After looking at the park’s map, we decided to hike to the most iconic arch in the park: Delicate Arch. It’s not only the symbol of the National Park, it can also be found on all Utah’s license plates. The hike was easy and not too long, but walking uphill in the heat made it a bit more challenging. We stopped for a break in a shady place, where we got company of a little chipmunk. They are so cute! Really tiny, really fast, and not very shy. Paul had his zoomlens with him, and this is the result…
Ok, one more photo of the chipmunk because he’s so cute 😉 There are lots of them everywhere in the states, and after a while you get so used to them that you don’t take photos anymore. We continued our hike, wondering when we would get a glimpse of our final destination. In fact you don’t get to see it until the very end of the trail. You turn a corner, and suddenly it’s there! What a view… the arch is located right at the edge of a kind of platform of slickrock, so you have really nice views as well.
It was fun playing with the fisheye lens, which can fit the whole arch in even from close by.
These photos show the surroundings of the arch a bit better, it’s like a big bowl! We actually walked to the bottom of the bowl, and climbed up on the other side.
This is the unusual view from the other side, where you look right at the side of the arch so you can’t see the whole. It becomes almost hard to spot 🙂 We walked back when sunset was on its way, and we saw LOTS of people walking up with tripods. I wonder if they were all able to get a photo without 10 other photographers in it 😛 We drove a bit further into the park, and stopped at a viewpoint of Fiery Furnace. We would have liked to hike into Fiery Furnace, but you need to either join a guided walk (which needs to be booked quite a while in advance), or apply for a permit.
Sunset was really beautiful… my favourite time of the day, when it finally cools down a bit and everything is turning a deep orange.
We walked the short trail to Sand Dune Arch, which is located inside a slot canyon. The floor of the canyon consists of amazingly fine sand! Unfortunately, at this low latitude sunset goes realllly fast, and it’s basically dark only half an hour after the sun has set. So after enjoying sunset, it was soon time to head back to our cabin.
It had been a fantastic day, but the combination of heat, jetlag and so many new experiences made us really tired. So tired that we ate at McDonalds, and that says a lot 😉