• Wendell

Day 15 - Arches - Dead Horse & Canyonlands Parks

Friday - September 20, 2019

The Colorado "Gooseneck" seen from Dead Horse Point Overlook

After an excellent early breakfast at the Inca Inn, we were off for another day of adventure. A few words about our local abode. I am not cheap, but I am frugal. When looking for rooms in Moab, I was astonished at how expensive even moderately priced hotel chains were, $260-$300 per night with taxes. I found the Inca Inn for $190 per night. It was advertised as the highest rated "Budget" hotel in Moab. Their Expedia rating was 4+ so I took a chance to save $250-300 for a three night stay. It is an older Inn which has been updated. The rooms are spacious and has all the normal conveniences expected today; microwave, refrigerator, WiFi, charger outlets, etc. The rooms were immaculately clean and the breakfast was wonderful, with hot eggs, assuages and HOMEMADE bread. Of course they had all the regular Continental breakfast items. It is a small private Inn with only 24 rooms. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. We have really enjoyed our stay at the Inca Inn.

Anyway, we decided to return to The Arches for a couple of trails we missed yesterday. We arrived at 7:15 and hiked three trails for a total of about 2.5 miles.

Early sun in Arches National Park

Our first short trail was to the Turret Arch. The little speck above the arch is the moon.

We then hiked on to the Windows Arches, North Windows and South Windows.

We had to hike all the way back to the parking area to access the trail to Double Arches. I really enjoyed this one. It is quite unique.

A closer view of the Double Arches

The view looking out from the Double Arches.

We left Arches National park and proceeded to Dead Horse State Park, about 40 minutes away. Here we planned to visit Dead Horse Point Overlook (the Caption Photo at the top of this post) and to hike the Bighorn overlook trail, which is about 3.25 miles round trip.

It was warm, but not too bad. We have learned that at these altitudes it is imperative to consume copious amount of water. You dehydrate easily, from perspiration which you are hardly aware of but also from respiration which you are not aware of.

The views along the hike were awesome. Unlike hiking in the big National Parks, these trails were pretty empty. We saw only 3 other hikers during the entire 2 hour hike. We met a man coming off the trail just as we started and met a nice young couple from British Columbia about half way along our return hike.

Not too close Kay!

These depressions in the sliprock are called "potholes". Rain is very scarce here, only about 10 inches a year. During the infrequent rains these depression often support several small life forms during their short lifespan.

Time for a brief break. We sometimes had to stop to remove small stones from our shoes. They could feel like boulders.

The trail was easy to follow through the brush, but on the sliprock, which sometimes could go for hundreds of yards, there was no trail. Despite sporadic cairns of rocks to help mark the trail, we sometimes would loose it.

When we returned from the Bighorn trail at about 12:30 we ate the sandwiches and chips which we had brought with us for lunch. Following lunch, we headed for Canyonlands National Park. It was only about a 20 minute drive from the State Park.

Canyonlands National Park is huge. Few people knew these remote lands and rivers well when the national park was established in 1964. Only Native Americans, cowboys, river explorers, and uranium prospectors had dared enter this rugged corner of southeastern Utah. Canyonlands remains largely untrammeled - its roads mostly unpaved, trails primitive, and rivers free-flowing. Bighorn sheep, coyotes and other native animals roam its 527 square miles. It is so large that the park in divided into three sections; Island in the Sky (where we are), The Maze and The Needles.

Having pretty much used up our allotted hiking for the day, we only went in the Visitors Center to review the exhibits and walked out to the the Island in the Sky overlook. Further exploration of Canyonlands will have to wait for another time.

We returned to Moab tired but happy. After a shower and a couple of hours rest, we went out for dinner.

Some of you might have heard about the tourist bus accident near Bryce Canyon today. About 7 miles from the Park entrance on Highway 12, a tour bus with 30 Chinese Nationals and a Chinese-American driver turned over. Four are reported dead and seven others critically injured. We were at this exact spot only two days ago! The road as been closed all day.

Tomorrow is a drive day. We will head to Ogden, UT where we will spend one night and then head to The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

Until then...

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