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.
The Organ with Balanced Rock on the horizon.
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.
As we hiked under the Tower of Babel on our way back to the Jeep the overcast skies started to clear a little bit.
More blue skies.
Then we headed over to the Eye of the Whale Arch since it’s been a few years since we were there.
The view from inside the Eye of the Whale.
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.
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.
Both Windows and Turret Arch.
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.
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.
Warm light on a large fin in Devils Garden.
We made our annual trek to Landscape Arch. It’s still standing…
Just some large fins nearby.
Amanda wanted to visit Tapestry Arch again, so we did.
Nice view of the La Sal Mountains from here, too.
A cool spire nearby.
I’d never been up to this side of Skyline Arch before.
One last parting shot before we left the park and headed home.