Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hike to the Delicate Arch at Arches National Park

My favorite part of Arches National Park on Memorial Day was our hike to see the Delicate Arch. I was surprised at how difficult it is to get to many of the arches. I naively thought that as soon as I entered the national park there would be arches scattered all of the place. It's really more like a huge Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs with some arches mixed in, lots of which you can't even see from the paved road.

Our first view of the Delicate Arch was from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint trail. It's so tiny you may even have to look for it in this first photo. (If there is a photo in my blog that you would like to see larger, just click on the picture for a larger view.) I immediately realized this was not the trail I expected and I wanted to hike up to the arch and I didn't want to settle for this far away view of it.

Zoomed in view of the arch. You can see people all over the place under it now.

There were tons of people at the park since it was a holiday, but the nice thing is you can always find someone to take a family photo. Here you can see the arch directly above Savanna's head.

Next we started the real Delicate Arch hike. The park information brochure says it will take 2-3 hours and to bring 2 quarts of water per person. We did the hike in 1 hour. Thank goodness we were acclimated and used to hiking steep trails. The elevation gain was 480 feet and 3 miles round trip.

A look here at Savanna will give you an idea of how steep the walk up this huge rock was. The rocks around Moab are not slippery at all and you can have such great traction in the right shoes, very unlike the trails we are used to in the San Juan Mountains with loose and deteriorating rocks.

Looking back down the trail toward the parking lot.

Nearing the top of the trail there is a very narrow ledge with quite a drop-off. See the two people on the right? Just around that corner you can finally see the Delicate Arch.

One more view of the steep ledge part of the trail.

Finally we're at the Delicate Arch!!!

A zoomed in view with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

The next two photos are of Jay and Savanna under the arch. I had a terrible time holding the camera still because the wind was about to knock it out of my hands. Savanna is wearing a blue shirt and Jay is wearing a whitish-gray shirt.

One more shot just for the heck of it and because I like it.

Journey to the Tower Arch at Arches National Park

We decided to take a Jeep trail called Tower Arch to see the Tower Arch at Arches National Park on Memorial Day. I felt it was worthy of it's own blog entry since we made such an effort to get to it.

Access to the Tower Road Jeep trail is off of Salt Valley Road, which is drivable in a 2-wheel drive vehicle. The Tower Road trail gets much harder. Here is one view from Salt Valley Road, which we drove on for about 6 miles.

It's hard to capture what the rocks actually looked like that we drove the Jeep Rubicon over with no problem at all. The rocks look very slippery, but you actually get good traction with the right vehicle. This trail is rated "moderate" but there are some difficult spots that I wouldn't suggest anyone try without enough clearance in their 4-wheel drive vehicle. The park has information about the trail, but we read about it ahead of time in the book Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails by Charles A. Wells. We checked this book out at the library, but we own the books by this author for the trails around Telluride.

Approaching the Tower Arch, it was obvious that we would have to do more hiking to actually get to it. What?! The hike was short, but pretty primitive and took a little bit of scrambling and using our hands. Maralee had to have major help from Jay.

A couple of closer views.

Jay and the kids climbed up into the arch and I stayed back to take pictures.
Another view of the trail as we drove out; again, not really able to capture what the road really looked like.

Arches National Park--Moab, Utah

We did it!! We finally took our first trip to Moab! I can't believe we have lived in Telluride for over a year, very close to the Utah border, and we just now made it there. We just went there for the day since the kids were out of school for Memorial Day, and spent almost all of our time at Arches National Park. I took nearly 150 pictures, so I will split up the day into three separate blog entries.

On our first little hike through the area seen above, we saw this little snake. I had no idea Maralee was scared of snakes until this little guy went slithering by. It was the first time she has seen a snake out in the wild, so she probably didn't know she was scared of them either.

This cactus obviously had enough water to bloom this spring.

Balanced Rock.

The Garden of Eden with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

That's Maralee walking on the steps in this photo, and Garrett and Savanna's heads are at the bottom.


Savanna saw this lizard run under a large rock. I bent down and I couldn't see more than the end of it's tail, but I stuck my camera down there anyway and snapped a picture. I had to crop the photo and lighten it for the lizard to show up.
It seems that most of my photos were of the La Sal Mountains. We were enjoying the desert and all of the red rocks surrounding us, but I was still pulled to look at the mountains.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

CJ-7's First Trip up Tomboy This Year & Jay's New Toy

We all had a very full day today!! Garrett and Savanna spent the day skateboarding and going to a friend's BBQ while Jay, Maralee and I hiked up Boomerang trail to Mt. Village. If you haven't been here before, you can't fully appreciate the idea of hiking from Telluride to Mt. Village. Maralee was very tough and only had to be carried a little bit. She didn't whine or complain, so we took her to the Sweet Life for lunch. After walking back home, we decided to get the CJ-7 out and see how far we could drive up Tomboy Road before we got to the snow. We knew that there was no way we could actually do Imogene Pass as there is at least 20 feet of snow up there.

This was the first REAL trip on a Jeep trail since Adam and Shai fixed up the Jeep with Jay last month. Jay did drive it up Mill Creek Road last week which probably doesn't really count as a Jeep trail even though it's a steep 4-wheel drive road.

We picked a nice, wide spot to park on the road where Jay would have plenty of room to turn around, then we walked on up to the two waterfalls and to the spot in the road where there was deep snow.

This is a definite stopping point. The road ahead of this huge chunk of snow seems to be really washed out and I'm not sure we would be able to drive here anyway. Hopefully there will be some road maintenance up there soon.

These two waterfalls will only be flowing for a month or so as the snow up higher melts. The pile of rocks behind me and Maralee here is actually a rock slide that came down on top of ice and snow. There was obviously an avalanche in this area because many aspen trees were pushed over, but my pictures didn't turn out well because of how cloudy and overcast it was today. Tomorrow we are expecting sunny skies and will be spending Memorial Day in Moab and Arches National Park.

Last but definitely not least, here is Jay's newest toy. He traded in his Suzuki motorcycle for a Triumph Sprint ST with ABS. He got an amazing deal on it at the Fun Center in Durango.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Birthday Dinner at Emilio's

Last night we went to Emilio's, my favorite restaurant in Telluride, for Mexican food for my birthday. Ari and Kristen were able to come down and join us. Emilio's is a fairly dark restaurant, so the photos turned out kind of dark, too, but you can still see Kristen's pretty red hair! Kristen ordered me a huge dessert platter that had churros, flan and a big fried ice cream in the middle with a candle sticking up. I really wish I had taken a picture of the platter!! Ari and Kristen are the best friends we've made here and we are very blessed to have them in our lives. I'm thankful that God brought them into our lives through the Telluride Marshal's Office!

See, everyone looks so happy with our tummies way too full of Mexican food! As for being happy about growing older....ugh!!! HAHA! It's a downhill slide heading for 40 now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Deep Creek Trail

We had plans of completing the Deep Creek trail yesterday while the kids were in school. We left Jay's Jeep at the top of Mill Creek Road where we would be exiting the trail and drove the new Jeep and parked it in the corral parking lot on Last Dollar Road at the trailhead. The weather was beautiful and warm, but about 3 miles up the trail there was a lot of snow that was too soft to walk on top of and too deep to walk through. I still took some good pictures, though.

I'm not sure what our elevation gain was, but we hiked up and up for almost two hours before we had to turn around.

This was our stopping point. We passed three guys that had snowshoes on our way back down the trail. Snowshoes would have been good here! We will go back up there after the rest of the snow melts and the aspens have leaves.

We had time to get some tacos before picking Maralee up at school. We call this the "taco stand" or the "taco guy," but it's actually La Tapatia, the best tacos in town and they are only $2, with the nicest guy running the stand. He has a few picnic tables in this open area between two buildings.