Arches National Park

Trip Start May 03, 2010
Trip End May 29, 2010

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Arches National Park - Devil's Garden Campground

Flag of United States  , Utah
Thursday, May 6, 2010

On day one at Arches, after Erik and I came back from a particularly exhilarating hike, he turned to me and said, "I could go home now and still be happy with our trip". And to think we still have most of a month to go!

After landing in Denver and receiving a wonderfully warm welcome from Kruch, Joy, and five or six family members wandering in and out of the house, we set off for Arches National Park- about five hours away.

Thank goodness Erik was driving, because I spent most of the drive just craning my head around trying to take in the mountains, valleys, and ridiculously colorful cliffs. After only 24 hours in Colorado I'm pretty sure I could be content living here for good. The drive provided some of the coolest landscape I’d ever seen – until we got to Utah and Arches, that is.

After a slight detour for a short hike at Fisher Towers on the recommendation of Kruch and Joy, we got to Arches about an hour before sunset.
Erik’s main goal for the park was to capture Delicate Arch at sunset, so we hauled through the park to get to the trailhead. Looking at the map, the trail to Delicate Arch looked a little less than a mile, so we thought we’d be good with a 20-minute hike. We failed to account for the elevation change, however, and the fact that the majority of the trail was uphill over slick rock and winding cliff edges. I felt like a total loser huffing and puffing my way up while the hikers coming down passed by looking refreshed, as if all they had done was take a stroll around the block. After a little over an hour of the fastest paced hike I’ve ever done and just as the sun was setting, we got to Delicate Arch at an elevation of 4829ft. The view was breathtaking.   We sat on the cliff for quite awhile, enjoying the sunset and snapping a million pictures. I felt a lot better about my physical condition on the way back down as we were going past poor red-faced souls trying to make their way up. Coming down is a lot easier than going up!

After spending the night illegally in the park campground (all the sites were reserved, so we just drove around until we found an empty spot and prayed no one would show up at midnight), we set off the next morning for a more ambitious hike. The Devil’s Garden trail is a 7.2 mile hike to eight fabulous arches. Most of the trail is considered “primitive”, which means there’s a lot of scrambling up rocks, sliding down on your butt, and trying not to be scared of heights. We spent about 5 hours hiking to the arches, drank about 6 liters of water throughout the day, and didn’t pee once. It was HOT. We were tired by the end of the day, but feeling pretty good about actually making it all the way through the trail. Once I got my boots off, though, I found several wicked blisters on my feet. Luckily a passing park ranger had some helpful advice- Preparation H and saran wrap. I looked at her like she was crazy until she explained that Preparation H is an analgesic and numbs the pain, and the saran wrap taped over it lets the shoe slide instead of rubbing. GENIUS! All these years of high heels and I’ve certainly never heard that one before. As my feet are now slathered in hemorrhoid cream and plastic wrap, I can attest that it does indeed work. Way to go, National Park Service!

We’re now on a 6 hour drive southwest to Zion National Park, uploading via the 3G network on our phones. Pretty sweet, no?  It’s hard to imagine what might be coming next, because what we’ve seen so far has been pretty spec-fucking-tacular -- but stay tuned for updates!

Love love,

Emily and Erik
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kris paquet on

oh my God! Are these your pictures? Or did you cut and paste them from National Geographic? Looks like Emily is the commentator. Erik, are you too tired to write? Maybe, Em, if med school isn't all that it seems cracked up to be, you could write for a travel mag... taking out the swear words for the older group (like Papa that is viewing in). You guys seem to be having another time of your lives. Enjoy, but BE CAREFUL!!!!!! Much love to you both,

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