Sunday, October 16, 2005

Arches

What an awesome weekend. I went down to Arches National Park with my parents and some of their friends/coworkers. We had the group site at the campground so all 14 persons there had a nice place to pitch their tent. Arches is a lovely place, really - not my favorite park, but lovely. The geography is gorgeous, breathtaking, majestic. Really, if it wasn't so touristy and ... I almost want to say trendy, but that's more just the aura of Moab in which the park basks.

So what we did: After my class on Friday we drove down so we got to the campground around 4:00. After we set up the tent and unpacked some stuff my parents went on a little hike that started somewhere in the campground and went around to a bunch of arches. I heard it was really pretty. I decided to stay around camp and climb some rocks. There was one chimney in particular that I was determined to get up. It was probably too narrow for a sane person, but you know me. My first attempt I got maybe a quarter of the way up and got stuck. The second time I was successful, but it was not easy. This little crack in the rock was maybe a foot wide. That's not much when you're trying to squeeze more than just a skeleton through it. About half way up I rested and held myself in place just by flexing my glutes. In a situaton like that, it's not much good trying to use your legs, because you can't bend them so they're useless, so I basically pulled myself up with my arms. When I couldn't go up anymore I decided that I would go down the other side. It started out wider and therefore easier, but then it went more narrow that my way up. I ended up "walking" my way down above the crack (where it was a bit wider). By walking I mean I had my feet on one rock face and my back on another so I would step with my feet and then push up with my shoulders and upper arms so my back could catch up with my feet. By the time I got back on normal ground, I had worked every muscle in my body- I know because they were all sore the next day.

Yesterday seven of us decided it was a good idea to get up at 5:30 and hike to Delicate Arch for sunset. It was actually quite fun, but you're not going to see me awake that early again for a very long time. After returning to camp and breakfasting, my parents and I decided to hike down Courthouse Wash. Good idea if you want to get away from people (we didn't see a single other hiker the entire way) and are up for an adventure. Bad idea if you want an actual trail (who hikes on trails anyway?) or if you have a problem with quicksand and fighting your way through thick groves of willow and tamarisk. It was not too bad for the first 3/4 of the way, but then it got impossible. We were pushing through thick vegitation and going around in circles. By the end of it we were tired and frustrated. I didn't NOT enjoy it, but I wouldn't exactly say it was fun. Definately an adventure and certainly interesting. The wash itself is very pretty in an atypical way. You don't have the majestic canyon wall hovering several hundred feet over your head (typical Arches scenery). The wash is much more open. It's full of trees and, in a few spots, there were really beautiful waterfalls and neat little swimming holes.

Last night, after we recovered from our adventure, the whole lot of us (14 that is) had dinner at the Moab Brewery. Good beer, good food, good company. Of course beer+hiking all day+ getting up at 5:30 = exhaustion. I was asleep by 11:30 and I have never slept so well on a camping trip.

This morning we packed up, putzed around the windows area of the park and then drove home. One of the best parts of camping is getting home and taking a shower. Those are the best showers ever- after being sweaty and dusty and dirty for days it's so nice to get really clean.

I'll post some pics after they're uploaded from the cameras.

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