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Golden Arches

July 25, 2014

Speed limit 35 mph

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. On our way to Arches National Park Friday morning we passed through a town called Dove Creek, Utah. I’ve been pretty careful to stick close to the speed limits throughout the trip but I lapsed for a few seconds in Dove Creek and that’s when they got me. Long story short, I got a ticket for driving 40 mph in a 35. The whole story includes me going a bit faster than that and the cop being very kind. I felt pretty stupid the bottom line isn’t too bad–$50 and one point.

With that ugly little incident behind us we had a fantastic time at Arches National Park. One thing I’ve learned from our many trips to National Parks is that you have to leave more time than you think you’re going to need. Really, you could spend an entire day even at the smaller parks. So I budgeted six hours for Arches, and it turned out to be just about right. As usual, an awesome Park Ranger helped me craft a plan for the day. And as usual, she was spot on about everything. Well, not quite everything–she overestimated our stamina for multiple long hikes in hot weather. More on that later.

Sam used the Visitors Center parking lot as a hunting ground for new state license plates. And sure enough, he found the missing North Dakota, as well as this very pleasant surprise:

Hawaii license plate

Now the only state plate we haven’t seen is Alaska. I’m hopeful, though, as Juneau is only 2,200 miles from here (Sam looked it up), and We’ve seen plates from states that are further away than that.

By the time we were ready for the longest, toughest hike of the day (a 2-3 hour hike to Delicate Arch that is steeply uphill on the way there) we were too exhausted from the heat and from our other hikes. Delicate Arch is the most famous one, the one that’s on Utah’s license plate, and we couldn’t miss it. So we took the easy way out and took a much shorter hike to an overlook so we could at least see it. The overlook was a mile from the arch, but we got a good view, and with a good zoom lens we got some great shots.

What a cute little baby arch!

What a cute little baby arch!

Here's Delicate Arch for real. Note the hiker directly beneath the arch to give you an idea of scale.

Here’s Delicate Arch for real. Note the hiker directly beneath the arch to give you an idea of scale.

There’s not much else to say except that there was extraordinary beauty in every direction we looked. So I’m going to shut up now and just show you some of the highlights.

Arches National Park

Park Avenue

This row of tall rock formations is called Park Avenue

Arches National Park

Sheep Rock

Sheep Rock

The rock behind me is called Balanced Rock

The rock behind me is called Balanced Rock

Arches National Park

Sam stands beneath an arch called North Window

Sam stands beneath an arch called North Window

North Window

This one is South Window

This one is South Window

Both Windows together look like the face of a troll

Both Windows together look like the face of a troll

Looking through Turret Arch you can see three other arches.

Looking through Turret Arch you can see three other arches

Double Arch, so named because one pillar arches in two directions (the second arch is behind the first in this photo

 

Arches National Park

Just an afternoon stroll through enormous stone monliths

Sandy Dunes Arch

Sandy Dunes Arch

Arches National Park

Skyline Arch

Skyline Arch

Landscape Arch is the longest one in the park. A ribbon of stoe on the underside of the arch fell several years ago, making the arch even thinner but also forcing the park to close direct access to the arch.

Landscape Arch is the longest one in the park. A ribbon of stoe on the underside of the arch fell several years ago, making the arch even thinner but also forcing the park to close direct access to the arch.

Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch

That's so raven!

That’s so raven!

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