Friday, November 28, 2014

The Mecca of Arches

We visited Arches National Park at Utah on November 21st and 22nd. It turned out to be the best time to see the art of nature 100 million years in the making without a crowd, and to enjoy intriguing rock formations under the Sun without heat!

The sandstone fins, spires, balanced rock. and arches at Arches national park are 100 million year of work from water, wind, temperature and sand. In fact the park sits on top an underground salt bed, and the salmon colored entranda sandstone is the main reason that Arches national park has one of the greatest density of natural arches in the world with over 2000 arches within its boundary.

Three gossipers - fins 

The Needles  - spires
Balanced Rock
A window - Arches
One can drive along a scenic road to view the various rock formations from distance or hike to the arches for an up close look.We did a bit of both - and our hiking is primarily on easy to intermediate difficulty trails. 

The main easy trail is the so called Widows Section. The windows are only a couple hundred yards away from parking area. There are actually two windows! Nearby there are a couple more named arches - Turet Arch and Double Arch. Climbing onto the Double Arch is a bit hard

south and North Window
Turret Arch

Double Arch

The trail to the most famous Arch in the world - Delicate Arch - is much longer and harder. Part of the trail is on slickrock and the last several hundreds of yards is a ledge exposed to cliff! It is worthwhile for the effort to view the Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch with snow capped La Sal in the Background

a distant view of Delicate Arch
It took us about a full day to visit the Windows Section and Delicate Arch area in a leisure pace with stops at many roadside attractions.

The second day was dedicated to Devils Garden area - with hiking on Double O Arch trail (4.2 mile round trip) as the main activity. We also stopped at Fiery Furnace, Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch, Landscape Arch, Navajo Arch and Partition Arch.

Landscape Arch is the longest arch in the park - 306 feet long, and it had a recent rock fall in 1991. 

Landscape Arch

The hiking on the Double Arch trail was quite thrilling for me - because part of the trail is a narrow pathway on top of fins!

Walking on fins
Double O Arch  - Can you see the small O?
Partition Arches

Arches National Park is a unique land of natural rock sculptures! Excellent Trails, Awe Inspire Views.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Trip to Southeast Utah

We visited southeast Utah this week - the primary focuses were Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. It turned out to be the best time to see the spectacular vista there without a crowd, and to enjoy intriguing  rock formations under the Sun without heat!

We stayed at Best Western in  the small town Moab, Utah. Moab is a great gateway to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, small town, plenty of good restaurants within walking distance to the hotel we stayed.

Day 0

Fly from DFW to Grand Junction, Colorado  (~ 1 hour 40 minute)

Stay at Grand Junction for the night

Day 1

Drive from Grand Junction, CO to Arches National Park (Utah) - 110 miles in 90 minutes

Arrive at Arches around 10am

Drive along the Scenic Drive

Hike at Park Avenue

Park Avenue, Arches National Park

Visit Windows and a few other Arches along the way

Hike to Delicate Arch - strenuous trail with slick rock and exposure to heights - beautiful view

Stayed at Best Western at Moab, Utah

Dinner at Schequan Restaurant  - Chinese food

Day 2

Go back to Arches National Park

Stop at Fiery Furnace - a restricted area which requires permit or ranger guided hike

Hike at Devil's Garden Trail

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park
"Longest of the maintained trails in the park, the Devils Garden Trail leads to eight awe-inspiring arches. Expect narrow ledges with rocky surface hiking and scrambling on slickrock. Not recommended when rock is wet or snowy"

Dinner at Zax - American food

Day 3

Drive Canyonlands National Park  - Island in the Sky district (45 miles from Moab) -  a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries.

(see Canyon from above)

Upheaval Dome Trail
Upheaval dome 

Mesa Arch trail

Green River Outlook and Rim Trail

Dinner at Fiesta Mexicana, Moab, UT - Mexican food

Day 4

Drive to Canyonlands National Park - the Needles district - Scenic drive in the canyon - spectacular, awesome view from "close-up" points

Cave Spring Trail

Slickrock Trail 
Mesa Arch

Elephant Hill - should have taken this trail first in the morning to see the needles up close

Dinner at Pasta Jay's, Moab, UT - Italian food

Day 5

Drive along Colorado River,  Colorado waterway Scenic Drive 128

Lunch at Subway

Drive through Colorado National Monument to arrive at Grand Junction  - unexpected encounter with big horn sheep on the scenic drive road.
Big Horn Sheep at Colorado National Monument

Leave for DFW in the early evening


1) no gas and food in the parks - need to bring food and water for lunch every day  - we bought lunch at local supermarket
2) Sunscreen is a must at this altitude (5000+ feet)
3) winter cloth and gear will make the trip comfortable
4) Despite all the winter storms in Utah and Colorado earlier this week, Moab was free of severe  weather.
5) Leave DFW at night (8pm), and leave Grand Junction late afternoon to maximize the fun time in Utah and Colorado

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Time Flows

Time marches forward steadily,

But its passing is never fully appreciated, 

Until pausing to look back.

The makings of time:

Older son has left for college,

Younger one is approaching 6 feet tall.

Wrinkles appear,

Grey hairs emerge,

Getting older.


Ambition still grows,

Curiosity about nature continues to deepen,

Passion to make a difference sustains,

Love to my dear wife lives on.

Time flows, 

The heart remains young.