Christmas in Arches

Christmas Day | Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It’s been a tradition of mine to head down to Arches National Park around Christmas time each year so I can visit the park in the winter. This year I had no holiday plans, so I decided to visit on Christmas Day. I was originally planning on going by myself, but a few weeks before the trip I found out that my friend Yvonne was going to be in Moab over the same time, so we made plans to meet up and do some hiking together.

I stayed up a little too late on Christmas Eve, so I got a late start in the morning and didn’t make it to the park for sunrise this time. The sky was clear this morning so I don’t think I missed much.

As I drove in the park I made a quick stop at the Park Avenue Overlook for a few quick photos in the morning light.

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Park Avenue View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I liked the light on the edges here.

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Rim Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Park Ave Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Then I passed by the Three Gossips on my way to the Devils Garden trailhead where I planned to meet Yvonne.

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Three Gossips by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After meeting up with Yvonne we took our first hike of the day to visit Landscape Arch.

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Landscape Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way back to the trailhead we took a short detour to Pine Tree Arch.

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Pine Tree Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We found this little Christmas tree with nice reflected light on the sandstone behind it.

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Christmas Tree by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Hiking back to the trailhead on the snow-packed trail.

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Devils Garden Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After finishing our first short hike we made our way over to the Sand Dune Arch parking area so we could hike the Broken Arch loop trail.

Yvonne on our way to Broken Arch.

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Broken Arch Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Fins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We climbed up through Broken Arch to complete the loop.

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Broken Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Before returning to our vehicles we visited Sand Dune Arch since we were nearby. I’m glad we did because it had some of the nicest reflected light on it that I’ve seen here.

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Sand Dune Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Leaving Sand Dune Arch.

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In the Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

At this point we were both getting hungry. We drove into town for an early dinner so we could return in time to photograph the sunset. We had dinner at just about the only place open on Christmas Day in Moab: Denny’s.

On our way back into the park after dinner I made another quick stop at Park Avenue because I liked the shadows cast on the sandstone wall here.

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Park Avenue Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Beautiful views as I drove through the park again.

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Sandstone & Sky by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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La Sal View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The light was getting nice and there were some clouds in the sky, so we stopped at Balanced Rock for a few quick photos.

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Balanced by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Sandstone by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Turret Arch in the distance under the La Sal Mountains.

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Turret by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Balanced Rock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Over the Top by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We continued on to photograph the Garden of Eden area next.

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Garden of Eden by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Yvonne getting her shot.

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Photographing Eden by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Spire by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Both of our vehicles in the Garden of Eden parking area.

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Backcountry Vehicles by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We were planning on photographing sunset at the Garden of Eden, but since the conditions were nice we wanted to visit The Windows section, too. We were planning on returning, but ended up sticking around The Windows until the sun was down.

On the trail to the North Window.

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Trail to the Windows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Yvonne found this cool tree that framed the arch.

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Window Frame by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Eye by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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North Window View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Beautiful warm evening light on sandstone formations.

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Evening Sandstone by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Our shadows next to the South Window.

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Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Shadowgames by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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South Window Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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End of Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Pink wispy clouds above the South Window.

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South Window Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Last light of the day on the La Sal Mountains.

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La Sal Mountains by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Even though we had left our tripods in our vehicles, we stuck around to photograph the ‘glow’ on the sandstone during twilight.

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Framing by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Twilight by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Christmas in Arches Photo Gallery


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