Monday, November 5, 2012

Arches National Park

We arrived into Arches National Park and were absolutely amazed from the minute we pulled in! Even the "less impressive" areas have an awesome beauty that keeps you constantly reaching for your camera. We camped the first night at a site that was right on a quiet river and faced an enormous rock face that introduced us to the stunning red color that we have now seen all throughout the park. When the morning came we packed up and headed to the visitors center to get some information about backcountry camping (i.e. camping that involves backpacking out to a farther location but is free) This was when we met the one and only unpleasant Park Ranger we have come in contact with. Our conversation began a little something like this...

Taylor: Hi, we were wondering if we could get a permit for a backcountry pass so we can do some backpacking.

Mean Ranger Lady: Why!?

Taylor: Uhhh...because it's fun?

Mean Ranger Lady: (sigh) Well, you have to be really careful out there...we have a mountain lion.

Allison: Just the one??

Clearly our conversation was not going well and she was quite less than thrilled that we were bothering her for a permit. I'm fairly certain that she had hopes that their ONE mountain lion would find us and have us for dinner.

Luckily things took a turn for the better for us when we went over to the gift shop side of the Visitor's Center and started chatting with the man who worked there. He had many helpful things to offer about the park and even told us of a "local secret" place where we could find petroglyphs. He said he usually didn't like to tell tourists about it but since we were backpackers he would share the info! Take that Mean Ranger Lady!

From there we headed to see the arches! Everywhere we went was spectacular, with amazing rock formations and stunning arches flying overhead! The colors were shocking and thanks to the beautiful day we had, the blue sky set the perfect backdrop for the bright reds and golds all around! We even found the wall carvings our buddy in the gift shop had given us the tip on (though it wasn't the easiest to find...I guess that's the point).

Our second night in the park (our "backcountry night") we hiked a couple miles out into, well, the middle of nowhere. They have some sort of special crust on top of certain areas of their soil in the park where organisms have been able to form and therefore allow plants to grow. Because of this, walking, hiking, and especially camping are strictly permitted on the soil. So per Mean Ranger Lady's instruction, we set up our tent on top of the flattest rock we could find, which of course means we slept at a very steep angle all night! The plus side was that our view was unbelievable, overlooking the canyons surrounding the park that glowed as the sun set behind us.

The Arches Park definitely ranked high on our list as one of our favorite places that we have seen (despite our rocky start with Mean Ranger Lady). It is a gorgeous place to see if you ever get the chance!



"Park Avenue"



"Devil's Garden Trail"










A slot canyon that Taylor found near our backcountry campsite

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