Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Arches and a Nasty Fall


How can you start a blog posting about Arches without a picture of an arch, or in this case, “arches”.  Above is a picture of Double Arch, from the car.  In the past I have walked up to and under the large arch in double arch…but there is no way Marcia can get there because there is no way the GoGo can make it.  One thing about Arches is that you can enjoy it from the car, from outside the car, or up close and personal.


Up and personal like this shot.  The Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Tower of Babel, and The Organ and the rock climbers.

1c   1d

Here's a better look at the Gossips and Sheep Rock on the left, and this is The Organ on the right, which is only partially seen in the foreground right in the larger picture above these two….


Which leaves this one as the Tower of Babel, and in the upper left you can see two little dots near the top on the thin side of the mountain….headed up.


And if you think the title of this posting has anything to do with one of these guys….well, you would be correct….more of that later.

2a    2b

You enter the park, and after a stop at the Visitor’s Center, climb up some switchbacks to an amazing display of rocks and cliffs and colors and views.  You drive along for a few miles without seeing an “Arch”, and you don’t mind at all…it is just an awesome view.  


Soon, you come to the “Park View” where you can walk a mile, like these folks, over to see The Gossips, Sheep Rock, etc in an area they call “Coutthouse Towers”, (shown previously above)….or just stay in your car like we did and drive because you will be there in two driving miles.


Between Courthouse Towers and the Window Area, you can see a lot of Petrified Sand Dunes, a formation of very old sand dunes which have turned to stone under the weight of other material which has long ago washed away.

3a   3b 

And as you come to the Widows area, you come to Balanced Rock and the surrounding formations nearby.  The top rock which looks “balanced” is the size of three school buses!  After you pass Balanced Rock, you take the spur road to the Windows Section.


Here at North Arch you can see just how large it really is in comparison to the people at the base of the arch.  South Arch is to the right of this arch, but we did not take the trail to see it…but I know you can get a picture of both arches side by side if you get at the right angle.


The double arch, as I mentioned before, is in the Windows Section, along with this formation of rocks called “Elephant Parade”.  Can you see the first two elephants?


The windows section is one of the more popular area of the park, and with everything to see, one could understand why.


Next we went over to the Delicate Arch Trail parking lot.  Above you can see people off in the distance on their 3+ mile round trip.


But the road to view Delicate Arch from other view points was washed out yesterday, and still under water.  They hope to have it open again tomorrow, Thursday at the latest.  Thank goodness this is one thing we did three plus years ago when I drove Marcia through the park quickly on our Utah trip due to my daughter’s surgery.  Not sure we will be back to see it this year because we still need to visit Canyonlands over the next two days.


While I excused myself to use the little boys room…Marcia snuck in a selfie to show off her new haircut.


Here we are looking 15 miles or so across Salt Valley at Devils Garden, which is where the road ends.  The single darker rock structure is called Dark Angel, and it is a 5 mile round trip walk to it from the parking lot at Devils Garden.


To get to Devils Garden, you have to pass by the Fiery Furnace, which is off limits to hikes without a ranger or a permit with you.


And some more wonderful rock formations.

5c    5d

And Broken Arch, which you can see most of it from the car, and Sand Dune Arch, which is a short walk through a narrow slot, but well worth it for the cool air inside the rocks.


And Skyline Arch which you can also see from the car.


And finally we make it to Devils Garden.  This is also a popular place in the park, and it is also where the campground is located….but typically full this time of the year.


So we slowly head back out from Devils Garden to the park entrance.  As we come around the Tower of Babel, a car and a truck have stopped, a guy runs across the road….I sense something is wrong.


There is only one climber in sight….lower than before…but alone.

6c    6d

A park ranger drives up, siren on, gets out and scampers up the rocks at the urging of the guy just in front of him.


In the meantime, the loan climber starts to make his way down.  Soon a EMS worker, and then an Ambulance, and even a County Sheriff arrive.  I found out from one of the guys who was first to stop that a man from New Zeeland had fallen…but was responsive and appeared to have broken limbs and probably ribs.  Rock Climbers are another bred of human…..  

As for us, we enjoyed our day in the park, that’s for sure.  Tomorrow, Canyonlands, probably the Island in the Sky area.


  1. As a climber, you have to be totally confident in your partner and in your skills for EVERY climb. The top climber was leading ... he free climbs, placing "holds" to attach his rope to. The lower guy should have belayed him ... kept tension on the rope, so if he fell, it wouldn't be far. Sounds like the "holds" let go ... not a good feeling. I hope he's okay.

    1. Something sure went wrong, but with the news that the guy was talking and could move his limbs, that sounds good.

  2. You really got some great pictures from the road of Arches. I'm still detailing our time there and you've done it all in one post. Oh that I could be so succinct. I clearly have a serious case of blabberfingers. Very nice haircut Marcia. Looks great. Sure hope that climber didn't break his back or spine. Not a sport I'd ever even consider.

  3. I was worried that it was one of you two who fell when I saw the blog title. I'm glad that it wasn't either of you but hope the climber wasn't injured very badly.

    Your photographs are great! We haven't been to Arches since my walking days. It's either been too hot or too crowded when we were in the area but you've got my interest up. I didn't realize that so much can be seen from the road and parking lots.

    1. Karen, Marcia only got out of the car at the visitor's center. Now if we could go to Delicate Arch viewpoint, she would have got out for that. Three plus years ago she walked to that viewpoint....we did not have a GoGo back then.

  4. I love your header photo the best, but the others are all a close second. That is such a beautiful area. And I like Marcia's haircut, too! I'm glad one of you didn't fall, and hope the climber will be okay. Like any sport, sometimes things go wrong and someone gets hurt. Hopefullly he'll survive to climb again, and will have a great story to tell. :)

    1. Always nice to hear from the dead (sorry Barbara, couldn't help myself...hope you get all that "your dead" stuff worked out, and I hope Katie is feeling better) I did a news search on the climber, but to no avail...I think from how it sounds that it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Take care....

  5. Great pics ! Balance Rock just gives you the urge to go push on it. LoL glad the fall wasn't one of you! Rock climbers are a different breed.

    1. Welcome to our blog. Last year in Goblin Valley State Park here in Utah two boy scout leaders did topple a rock formation because they felt it was unsafe....they got themselves in some big I think I'll leave Balanced Rock alone...and from the info we heard on our audio tour, it is all one large rock, they don't think it will topple anytime soon.

  6. Looks like you had perfect weather, even some picturesque puffy clouds. Love Arches.

    1. Yes, we missed the heavy rain, had a little in the Park City area, but it has been warm, hot for a few hours, and cool at night. Couldn't ask for anything better.


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