Day 17 - a Visit from Mr Bear !

Trip Start Jul 22, 2011
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lyn here! It was a silly time to go hiking yet again, but I wanted to get to Delicate Arch before sunrise, which was due at 0630. This is why I had packed headtorches as I knew it was going to be dark setting off on the 1.7mile hike to the arch. Its an easy trail, but in the dark not so obvious. As always, everything was packed up and ready last night. As well as Ioan my faithful hiking partner, Tegan joined us on this hike to. They were both issued with strict instructions; if you dont get up quickly you dont go! We left the hotel with water carriers, torches, gps and camera at 0520. We drove into Arches NP and was at the start point at 0545, I warned Tegan that we would be going fast. It was dark and cool with a nice breeze and we flew up the trail. Its about 500 feet height gain to get to the Delicate Arch overlook. Its on both dirt and slick rock which is good fun to traverse. We were the first out of the carpark and were rewarded by getting to Delicate Arch first and before sunrise.

This arch is always a treat; its huge, exposed, high and you get a good view of the rest of the park. I set up my tripod ready for sunrise and waited about 10 minutes before the sun hit the red rocks and set them on fire. Delicate Arch gets light from the top down, along with the landscape behind it. As the sun rises the reds start coming out and accelerate towards you from the hill on the horizon and then closer and closer to you. Whilst I am trying to photograph this, Io and Tegz sat on the rim, and were landed when 3 walkers arrived to see us there, and were really cheesed off they were not first. I think I must be in some of their pictures J

We spent nearly an hour here, me with camera, Io and Tegz with the local wild life. Apparently they were attacking my ruc sack at one point. As we left there must have been 20 or 30 people milling around, but they were all too late, once the sun has risen, the red rock in Arches gets washed out, you have to wait until sunset to get the colours back.

We stopped just around the corner to take another picture looking back at Delicate through a hole in the cliff. We climbed about 6 feet above the path, I set up the tripod, arranged the kids. But then everyone started copying what I was doing ... and were queueing behind me to take a picture... copy cats... We have a nice picture anyway.

The hike back down was fun, the sun was high and it was getting hot, quite hot. There were lots of people on the path coming towards us, as we half walked half jogged down the slick rock back to the car. I love saying "hi" to them as we go past, once they have made the decision not to speak to me. You can see the confusion (by my accent) and the pain of the hot ascent on their faces.

We got back to the car, and was back in the hotel to join Lucy and Ci for breakfast. It was good to see a few of the other hotel guests looking at me in confusion, sweaty, hair all over the place and unshaved as I ate my last hotel breakfast of this holiday.

Now back to Luce.....

Ci and I had had a lovely lay in, and got up to eat breakfast. We were nearing the end of our food when the rest of our sweaty family returned. It was then time for something I'd been looking forward to.....time in an outside pool, in the sun, yay!

I was joined by Ci, and then Io, Tegz and finally Lyn, and we had the pool to ourselves. I read and sunbathed, occasionally joining the others in the cool water. It was HOT!

At about 11am it was time to shower and check out, and get on our way to our final destination of Boulder, Colorado, but not without some smoothies from the Peace Tree cafe, which had miraculously grown from a tiny shack two years ago, to a gorgeous brand new juice bar/restaurant, which was right next door to our hotel!

We had 340 miles to go, which Lyn found exhausting. We’ll definitely come back to Moab, we all love it here, but we tend to just squeeze it in, and run out of time. We need a good week here, but ideally not in August, it’s just too hot to hike! We had a quick final call into Arches National Park, where Io quickly walked the Wall St trail, and Lyn took some final photos, then we were on our way, following the Colorado River for 35 miles, stopping to watch the incredibly fast flowing waters, and rafters.

Subway again for lunch, and then we came onto the I70, one of the most scenic interstates in America, as it twists and turns, gaining height and descending crossing the Rockies. We passed through all the famous ski resorts such as Vail, Dillon and Beckenridge, looking at all the expensive huge ski chalets.

We turned off the interstate for the last 30 miles, and drove through a surreal mining town called Central City, which was full of casinos. After a tortuous winding road in the dark, we found our house, Paradise Ridge. We’ve been looking forward to this house for ages as it’s the “luxury” part of our vacation; incredible views, hot tub etc etc. We were glad to pull up outside.......

.....only to find the garage door, and the front door open, with lights on. Strange! We had a key code to punch in to enter. We entered nervously, not knowing if anyone had broken in, and whether there were intruders still inside,

We walked up the stairs and into the kitchen to find a huge mess around the fridge, with spilled food and containers. A cream cheese tub lay on the floor nearby, with the floor shiny with cream cheese. We quickly realised it was animal based, and I got the Ci and Tegz back to the car, not knowing if the animal was still in the house. Io refused to go; he was searching for knives in the kitchen drawers. On the way back to the car I noticed what was unmistakably bear paw prints on the wooden stairs. Yikes!

I quickly got back up to Lyn and Io, who were bravely checking the other 3 floors of the house, unarmed! Thankfully the bear had gone.

I phoned the property managers who lived nearby, and left a message on their answer phone. I then phoned the house owner, who was shocked by what had happened. The property managers then phoned back, and said that Tom was on his way. He was in a complete state of shock, and sure that someone had broken in, and left the door open, resulting in the bear visit.

It was all quite unnerving; Cian in particular was upset and in tears, which is understandable. We had gone from photograpghing bears at the side of the road from the safety of our car, to hiking in their territory, hoping to warn them off with bear bells, to actually having one pop in for a visit! A bit too close for comfort, especially when you see the huge holes made by the bear’s teeth in a can of peanut butter!

We hung around, sending the kids to watch some TV to take their minds off things whilst we waited for Tom to phone the Sheriff, who, interestingly, was at another house further up the road, investigating another bear entry.

We cleaned up, after taking photos, and eventually went to bed. Although we made sure every door and window was locked I still kept hearing suspicious sounds all night......
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mam on

Now you know what I meant on my last blog Its the kids fault they made me read and read the book" I`m going on a bear hunt its going to be a big one I`m not afraid" ect (or words to that effect )
The pictures are good well worth getting up for .
Have you kept in touch with what has been happening over here for the last 4 days?
Bed now nearly one at nght

juliephilip on

Wow on many counts. Delicate Arch is one of my all time favourite places. it must have been wonderful to see the sun rise there! And wow on the bear in the house - how lucky that it had moved on before you got there - doesn't bear (sorry!) thinking about. I must say Io and Tegz look the part, and I spotted Lyn's Tilley hat in earlier photos. He and Phil will need to compare, although Phil's is rather battered now!!

mcfarlne on

Lyn amazing photos well worth getting up at crack of dawn for!! Yikes at the bear though, but then this is to be expected of you guys! Glad everyone safe :0)

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