Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Delicate Arch

We had an extraordinary time on our recent trip to southern Utah. We traveled all over, including to Natural Bridges, Zion, Escalante, and several others. Zion was my favorite park as far as overall beauty and wonder, but one of my most favorite hikes we went on was to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. My mom has a picture of it hanging in the schoolroom with the moon in the background, so I kind of knew what it looked like, but I still really looked forward to seeing it when we were in Arches. (click on the picture to the right for a much larger preview)
As we pulled into the parking lot at the trailhead you could look off into the distance and see lots and lots of tiny specks walking up and down a face of slickrock leading up to a ridge, which my mom explained was the trail up to the arch. It was an estimated 3 miles round-trip — yeah right. As all trailhead signs, this one was wrong too. It ended up being a 4 1/2 mile round trip (I tracked it with my GPS. I can honestly say that this trip was the first time I have been able to pick up every single satellite from horizon to horizon.) but the hike was still enjoyable. It had a gradual climb going up. When we reached the slickrock it became steeper but once we made it up to the base of the ridge it leveled off for quite some time. The last and final jaunt up to the arch’s main viewpoint was a fairly wide trail along the side of a rock fin. You don’t actually see the arch until you are basically on top of the viewpoint, when the rock fin stops.
The arch itself was really neat, and the last one we saw at Arches. Where the viewpoint is situated is actually on the edge of a massive rock bowl, probably 200-300 feet wide, with the arch on the opposite side. The left-hand side of the bowl has a slope enabling people to be able to walk around it under the arch. You can see from the picture below how large the arch itself is, using the people as a scale. By the way, that is actually Zach and I to the left under the arch.
It was hard photographing the arch because of all the people, but there were a few moments when it was all clear, thankfully. I still got a lot of really good pictures of the structure. Of all the arches we saw on our trip, Delicate Arch probably ranks as one of my favorites.

This post was written by: J.Dub

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