Christmas Day | Friday, December 25, 2015
The early morning drive from Grand Junction to Arches National Park on Christmas morning was a bit slow since it had started to snow overnight and would continue to do so throughout the day. I wasn’t feeling 100% after coming down with a cold earlier in the week, so we decided to head straight to the Devil’s Garden for our annual Christmas hike to Landscape Arch to make sure that it is still standing after another year. I’ve hiked this trail in the winter for the past 8 years but this time it was the slipperiest I have ever seen it! After slipping and falling twice on the sheet of ice that was hidden beneath the fresh powder we put on our microspikes which made the rest of the hike much easier. After our visit to Landscape Arch we decided to visit Crystal Arch nearby which neither of us had been to before. It was nice to get off the main trail and have this arch all to ourselves. While we were visiting Crystal Arch started to snow pretty hard creating whiteout conditions for our hike back to the trailhead.
Entering the Devil’s Garden.
Fresh snow on pinyon pine needles.
Landscape Arch still stands after another year is almost over.
Approaching Crystal Arch for the first time. We might have to add this stop to our annual hike.
Diane stands below Crystal Arch for a little scale.
We had lunch in my Jeep and then headed over to the Sand Dune Arch trailhead where we waited a little while for the snowstorm to lighten up a bit. When it finally did we hiked straight to Broken Arch and then over to Magic Mystery Bridge, which was another new arch for both of us. Even with our microspikes on we were not willing to try and get down below the bridge in these conditions, so I guess we’ll have to come back again in better weather.
Fresh snow on the trail to Broken Arch.
Sign in the snow.
Our tracks through the fresh powder.
Broken Arch in a snowstorm.
Overlooking Magic Mystery Bridge.
A juniper in the snow along the trail.
After returning to my Jeep at the trailhead we slowly made our way back through the park visiting a few of the overlooks along the way, but did no other hiking since I still wasn’t feeling that great. When we reached the La Sal Mountains Overlook about an hour before sunset the sun finally broke free of the clouds and the possibility of a decent sunset looked good. We headed back to the Garden of Eden to wait for sunset, but the earlier hole in the clouds was only temporary and closed back up. There was no good sunset this evening.
Balanced Rock in the snowstorm.
The Garden of Eden.
After we realized that there would not be a decent sunset this evening, we headed back into town and had our Christmas Dinner at Denny’s (there’s not many options in Moab on Christmas Day) before checking into our hotel for the rest of the weekend.