Sunday, December 4, 2011

Arches National Park, Newspaper Rock, and Needles

 It was still pretty nippy yesterday morning when we headed out but the sun was shining bright and the wind had died down.

Our first stop in Arches National Park was "Park Avenue." It reminded the explores of the buildings that lined city streets. It channeled the wind the same way that the skyscrapers do. It had us second guessing how nice it actually was.
 Luckily it was a false alarm and it was a pretty beautiful day. It never reached above 40 degrees with some crazy cold wind, but the sun and our four layers of clothing made it feel a little better.
 This is balanced rock. I thought for sure it was going to topple over in the wind. The sign near by reassured us that, barring any great cataclysm, many of the structures in the park would remain mostly unchanged during our life time. But eventually this will all be gone, eroded away the same way it was brought to us.

 We stopped at the window arches to walk around and look at the large arches. The trail was rough, as you can tell from the photo to the right, but we managed just fine. :)

This is the first window arch, "North Window."

Turret Arch

 We went to "South Window" and "Turret Arch." Each one as amazing as the last. Here is Josh lounging behind the Turret Arch.
 We continued on to "Delicate Arch." We decided to just go to the view point because of time constraints. The hike to the arch was a three hour hike and we wanted to see the rest of the park along with part of Canyonlands before the snow comes on Sunday and Monday. It is the most popular arch in the park.

We thought the viewpoint would be a quick easy stop, it was still a half mile up hill climb. It was worth it, what a magnificent view.
 This was the view from the upper end of the scenic route. This was Josh's favorite spot because of the way the terrain changed and the clouds flowed over the mountain.

Arches National Park was a beautiful place. I only wish we had more time to enjoy all of it. The weather is definitely pushing us along more quickly than we would like. But we will be back!

This whole trip has been such a great adventure and though we have been so many places, it just seems to be fueling our travel bug and giving us more ideas for future trips.
 Next stop, Newspaper Rock and Needles. It's weird how an hour drive and a slight change in elevation can make the difference between a bright sunny day and four inches of snow on the ground.

We turned off onto our road and we were immediately greeted by numerous deer and lots of snow.
 We pulled up to the Newspaper Rock and had to bundle up. We had to walk up through fresh fallen snow. Not many visitors in the last few days apparently. The markings on the rock were interesting though. They had a fence around them so no one could add their own. There are so many different drawings.
 We continued on to the southern area of Canyonlands National Park, to the area called Needles. The sky was overcast and the snow against the rocks was beautiful.
 The snow vanished as we came out of the valley and into the Needle's area. The rocks were giant and surrounded us all around. They looked like tall mushrooms to me.
 We tried to take a picture but our heads kept blocking the scenery, so we moved out of the way. That and no one wants to see Josh's untamed man child beard.
The clouds started to clear as we were driving out of the park and we were able to pull over and watch the sunset. What a magnificent sight a sunset is out in the lonely snowy canyons.

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