As we exited the cool temperate confines of rock that surround the Sandy Arch we were once again subjected to the harsh morning Sun. Temperatures were already in the mid nineties and we weren’t even at 10am yet. We decided to do the loop for Broken Arch. It should be noted that the distance on the sign at the first parking lot is strictly a, “To,” distance. The full loop is miles longer and covers a lot of varied terrain with limited shade.
We came across this little guy almost right away. He seriously couldn’t care less about me trying to get his picture.
I was shooting with a 10-20mm zoom and literally was about an inch away for the next shot.
It really does feel alien compared to other places I’ve walked through. There’s evidence of water but no sign of it.
And then we reached the Broken Arch…
At which point a decision had to be made. The loop trail went through the arch or we could just retrace our steps back to the parking lot. Of course we continued on, you would too right?
The other side of the Arch…
Wind, weather and time create some fantastic looking formations…
Yes, there is a trail there. If you look close you can see it.
More arches. I don’t know the names of these ones….
You take what shade you can find. The temp is just above 100 F at this point. I’m through half my water and we’ve still got a fair hike back to the parking area.
So we got a bit lost around the upper parking lot and ended up wandering around for about half an hour before finding the trail again. The above shot is us back on track. The tail itself is marked by piles of stacked stones because metal posts don’t fare so well in this environment.
Of course the new path is not without its challenges.
I love the pattern in this bark.
After this point we were back on the initial trail and after another half hour were back on the bikes (after I drank a huge amount of my other water bottle). We headed up to Devil’s Playground and then back down to Skyline Arch, the most famous and photographed of all the arches in the park.
By this time, it was just after noon and he temperature was around 106F. Anything metal hurt to touch and we’d taken to putting our jackets across our bike’s seat to keep it from searing the inside of our thighs when we got on to ride. We decided to go grab some lunch then head back to the campsite. Though on our way out we did stop to check out the Balancing Rock.
Later on we saw people walking around the base of this rock. You know sooner or later, it’s going to come down. I know people think gravity works in slow motion on big things, I can tell you from personal experience, it does not. That rock could topple in a hundred years, a hundred days or in the next sixty seconds. The failure point is indeterminate but gravity sucks and it will come down. Best to give it a respectful distance.
In my next installment, you guys get to find out how our jaunt through The Canyonlands went. Stick with me here, cause the next bit is a bit mad but epic.