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(An Early) Christmas in Arches 2012

Saturday & Sunday, December 15-16, 2012

Each year Amanda and I take a trip to Arches National Park around Christmas time. It’s become kind of a tradition for us. This year we planned the trip two weekends before Christmas because of Amanda’s work schedule closer to the holiday. Some years we only go down for a day trip, but this year we got a hotel room in Moab and spent the full weekend.

On Saturday morning we left bright and early from Grand Junction so that we could make it to the park for sunrise. Unfortunately, the sky was very overcast this morning, so there wasn’t a sunrise. Instead, we decided to stop and hike the Park Avenue trail when we arrived. It’s been a few years since I hiked this short trail, but Amanda had not hiked it before. We started at the bottom and hiked to the top before returning the same way. It was pretty cold and windy out, plus we got rained on a few times, but we did have the trail to ourselves.

Looking back at The Organ from the slickrock wash this overcast morning.

Organ View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The Organ with Balanced Rock on the horizon.

Organ & Balance by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Next up we stopped at the Courthouse Wash bridge and hiked up to Ring Arch. Neither of us had been here before, so it was nice to visit a new arch this trip.

Ring Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we hiked under the Tower of Babel on our way back to the Jeep the overcast skies started to clear a little bit.

Tower of Babel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

More blue skies.

Blue Sky by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Then we headed over to the Eye of the Whale Arch since it’s been a few years since we were there.

Sign by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view from inside the Eye of the Whale.

Eye of the Whale by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We followed the 4×4 road to the Tower Arch trailhead and made the short hike to the arch. When we reached the arch it started to snow for a bit.

Tower Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

By the time we exited Salt Valley and made it back to pavement, the sunset was getting near. We drove over to the The Windows section to watch it.

Turret Arch through the North Window at sunset.

North Window Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Both Windows and Turret Arch.

Three Arches by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When the sun was down we made our way back to town and had a nice dinner at Pasta Jay’s before retiring back to our warm hotel room.

The following morning I went to the park alone to catch the sunrise from Broken Arch. I was hoping the sun would break through the small gap in the clouds on the horizon, but it never happened.

Broken Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After leaving Broken Arch I went back into town and picked up Amanda so we could get in a few more hikes. I never tire of the scenery on this drive.

Arches Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Warm light on a large fin in Devils Garden.

Fin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We made our annual trek to Landscape Arch. It’s still standing…

Landscape Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just some large fins nearby.

Big Fins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Amanda wanted to visit Tapestry Arch again, so we did.

Tapestry Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Nice view of the La Sal Mountains from here, too.

La Sal View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A cool spire nearby.

Spire by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’d never been up to this side of Skyline Arch before.

Skyline by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One last parting shot before we left the park and headed home.

Butte by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Christmas in Arches 2012 Photo Gallery

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