Woke up shortly before the alarm clock. After a late night (it was gone 11 pm when we turned the light out!) I still wasn’t keen on getting up though. Andrew didn’t appear particularly lively either. The view of sunrise on the rim above Moab was nice through the window. We eventually got up and went downstairs for a light breakfast before returning to shower and get ready. I edited the video from yesterday’s hike while Andrew was showering and you can see it here. It was about 11am when we left, but that still meant 7 hours of daylight and I didn’t think I would have the energy to hike for that long! The other benefit of a delayed start was that the temperature had reached above zero! It was a thin coat day, and at times in the sun, I was even too hot! We think it got up to about 51F… positively tropical!
We had decided to go to Arches today, hoping that Friday would be the least busy day. Whilst not as quiet as Capitol Reef (which we had virtually to ourselves), it was not as busy as we had feared. There was no queue at the entrance gate (unlike when we passed by last year). We drove right through the Park to the far end to the Devil’s Garden area, passing familiar sights and views of the La Sal mountains. There was no problem getting a parking space, although it was nearly a quarter of a mile just to get to the trailhead from our spot!
We did the first mile or so to Landscape Arch. We then had a choice of whether to try the whole of the loop to Double O Arch, which we haven’t done since 2006 when, technically, we both completed it, although one of us was carried out… We thought we would try and see how it went.
I recalled the first part as being a difficult climb, and I wasn’t wrong. I suppose that technically it wasn’t too challenging (I did use my hands for extra grip), but I did need to overcome the mental challenge of it being very steep with drop offs each side. The photos do not do it justice!
Once past this section, it got a bit easier, through rock and sand ‘gardens’, before it got more difficult again requiring us to walk along the top of the fins. This was not as scary though, as the tops were reasonably wide and flat. Eventually we arrived at Double O Arch.
After looking around we set off to complete the loop. This is signed’ primitive trail’ as opposed to ‘main trail’. Andrew commented that the main trail was pretty primitive and didn’t think it could be worse… The first bit was easy and we found a rock to sit on a and have lunch, with a great view.
After some steady walking we started to have to find the route which was only occasionally marked by cairns. This was coupled with the route itself becoming increasingly more technical and on several occasions we were left thinking ‘ it can’t possibly be that way…’ only to realise that, yes, it really was. Several locations required hand grips, some required sliding down on our backsides, and there were some very steep and narrow sections to walk on, with drops alongside that again required a degree of confidence and conviction.
We finally reached Broken Leg Point. This is an uneventful looking location when the basin isn’t filled with water, especially compared to the challenges that precede it. There were some handy tree branches to facilitate the climb down. We did measure the distance of Andrew’s fateful jump and estimate he covered 5m. Not quite Olympic distance, but a fair way.
We knew that, from there, the hike is physically demanding (up, down, sections of deep sand) but that there are no further technical sections. Just as well. The legs were getting tired, especially the muscles in my left leg, where my knee is still not as strong yet.
We were happy to rejoin the main constructed trail for the last mile back to the car.
We had originally (before deciding to do the full loop) intended to go to Delicate Arch too, but neither of us wanted to do another 3 mile hike, especially an uphill one. Instead, we drove back, stopping at the occasional viewpoint, and then went to City Market.
Back at the hotel we rested for an hour before going for dinner. The first three restaurants we thought about were full, in one case with people queuing out in the street. We tried Zax. They could seat us immediately. Sold! And we like their food and ambience, so we were happy enough.
That’s it. Apart from blogging and relaxing. We are quite tired…
Photos taken: 95
Videos made: 1
Steps taken: 22,088
Miles hiked: 6.0 extreme canyon miles
Distance travelled: tbc, but yesterday’s total was 266 miles.