Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 - March 23rd - Sand Dune, Broken & Tapestry Arches, Arches National Park

Where did we leave off? Ah yes, Arches.  (The first part of this trip can be found here in a previous entry.)

After exploring the Balanced Rock area, we took a quick pause at the Fiery Furnace.  Since this area requires either a hiking permit or a reserved guided tour, we continued on.  The next stop on my list was Sand Dune Arch due to its proximity to the road.  I figured if we had time, hike on another mile or so to Broken Arch at that point.

While we could see several arches at a distance in The Windows Section but had not had the opportunity yet to view an arch, up-close.

The trail to Sand Dune Arch is short and only leads a short distance from the parking lot to a gap between sandstone fins. The trail is easy and only requires a small step-up between fins.  Otherwise, it is completely sand.  We passed by the arch originally and continued farther between the fins as several groups of people were exploring the area.  I wanted a shot without humans in it.  This lead us to several areas were one could climb into narrow spaces between the fins.  Many jokes of 127 Hours ensued. 

Between The Fins

Kendell & Katherine Moments Before Arm Amputations

As people cleared out, we returned to the arch... the first arch of our Arches experience and took a few moments to get some photos.

Sand Dune Arch


Realizing that we had plenty of time on our hands, I suggested we continue on to Broken Arch, which wasn't too far away.  The trail was mostly sand again and along the way, signs asking visitors to keep off the soil crust were common.

The arch is actually visible from the Sand Dune Arch area, but the trail moves in and hugs another area of sandstone fins, disrupting the visibility.  When we finally emerged, however, we were greeted with a spectacular view.

Broken Arch

We spent five or ten minutes looking for different angles to take photos and enjoying the natural beauty.

Yucca Man, Terror Of The Arches

Katherine Under Broken Arch For Scale

We were feeling ambitious and decided to follow the trail through the arch and make a loop back to the parking lot.  I wasn't completely sure how long this would take, but we decided to do it anyway.  Along the way, we saw a sign pointing to a distant cliffside arch that we could see called Tapestry Arch.  We took this side trail and visited that arch as well.

Tapestry Arch (right)

A Raptor Of Some Sort Acting As Guard

Kendell Under Tapestry Arch For Scale

We rejoined the trail and followed it through the Devils Garden Campground, which marks the apex of the loop.  From there, we continued back south toward the original trail head.

Open Country To The Northwest
Looking Back At Tapestry Arch

The trail did actually work its way back through several sandstone fins before the loop ended.  The alignment of the fins provided a perfect view of the distant, snow-capped La Sal Mountains.

As we returned to our hot vehicle, it was still only early afternoon.  The Devils Garden area was next on our list. 



Kendell said...

Excellent as always.

Dann Cianca said...

Thanks, Inspector Knasty. Hope you're havin' a good b-day today!