"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, September 24, 2012

Moab: Arches and Windows

Here in Moab we are residing at Canyonlands Campground. It is not in the National Park, as the name might suggest, but right in the small city of Moab, within walking distance of almost everything the town has to offer. The park itself is fine, a little crowded, but folks are all nice and friendly. There are lots of international tourists and adventurous young people camping in tent villages. It's kind of a nice change. There is lots of shade - good for the heat and bad for the satellite, so we are without TV. They have a small pool, a laundry room and a fully stocked convenience store/Texaco gas station. Typical of the southwest, there's not a speck of grass anywhere, but Kona has adapted. 

One of the disadvantages of being right in town is the noise - often visitors to these urban parks are bothered by road noise or trains, or late night parties. But we had our first wake up call at 6:00 AM from the high school athletic field next door. Some enthusiastic athlete was running up and down the 15 tier aluminum bleachers making resounding thunder with every step. Then the marching band began to assemble and let loose in earnest at 7:00 AM.  Interesting. 

So, after exploring the two parks northwest of town in the morning, I left Kona at home in the RV with the air conditioner on and drove out to the Windows section of Arches NP at sunset. First I stopped at Double Arch and walked the short trail, passing this alcove. An alcove is an arch that hasn't eroded away from its supporting cliffside yet. I had been curious about what those are called. Most are much flatter than this cave.

The sun was not quite setting when I got to double arch. A busload of Korean photographers had just moved on so I got a nice shot without people. There are a lot of people in this park, especially compared to Capitol Reef. 

These arches are not easy to photograph. I got some of the warm direct sunlight on it, but even better was the bounce light from those direct patches that gave the whole inside of the arches a nice glow.

Very close to Double Arch is the Windows areas with three arches facing slightly different directions. There's a North Window, South Window and Turret Arch, and frankly I can't tell which is which now. 

There are several paths up and around the windows and one called the Primitive Loop that goes around the back side of them all. That was fun. This is one of the cairns that serve as trail markers all around here.  They make nice contrasting focal points to the huge rounded rock formations.

I think this formation is the Parade of Elephants. Looks like it, don't you think? I hope those who might know for sure will forgive me if I'm wrong. 

Tomorrow I'll drive south to the Needles district of Canyonlands, and Kona will go to doggie daycamp. 

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