Las Vegas, NV – Southwest USA Road Trip (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Southwest USA Road Trip 2012


This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In October 2012, Ken and I took a two week road trip around the Southwestern United States.  We flew to Albuquerque, NM and then drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico >Canyon de Chelly, Arizona > Moab, Utah > Monument Valley, Utah > Lake Powell, Arizona > Grand Canyon (South Rim) > Las Vegas

We ended our Southwest USA Road Trip in Las Vegas, NV. It was pretty crazy. Since leaving Albuquerque about 10 days earlier, we constantly felt like we were in “the middle of nowhere.” Alien landscapes of the Southwestern USA, two lane roads, and charming small towns. And then BOOM. Civilization. Vegas.

Las Vegas is literally one of my favorite vacation destinations in the entire world. This was Ken and I’s third visit to Vegas in recent years. Once in 2008 (Ken’s first trip ever to Vegas!) and once in 2011 for our minimoon. Since we’d only be in Vegas for one night, and since we had just been there less than a year earlier, we weren’t planning on doing much, and that’s how it worked out.

Outside the Mirage in Las Vegas

We stayed at the Mirage, and after getting checked in, we went to the Lobby to see if there were any tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s performance of “Love” (A Beatles music performance). Love’s theater is at the Mirage, and since we were guests there, we got to bypass the LONG lines at the ticket office and got priority seating and a discount for a show that was starting in just a few hours. Score!

Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show

We’ve now seen three Cirque du Soleil show’s in Vegas: Ka, O, and Love. And I really think that Love had been my favorite!

Lobby of Love Theater at Mirage

The next day, we just walked up and down the Strip a bit, and stopped by the Bellagio. I love visiting the Conservatory at the Bellagio. They change it nearly every month! It was decked out in autumn scenes.

Conservatory at the Bellagio Conservatory at the Bellagio Conservatory at the Bellagio

And that was pretty much it! Our flight was leaving in the afternoon, so we walked back to the Mirage, organized all our belongings from our two week road trip, and headed to the airport.

When we returned the rental car, I snapped a photograph of our mileage. We drove 1656.1 miles in the past two weeks. Not too shabby!

Southwestern USA road trip mileage driven

Grand Canyon – Southwest USA Road Trip (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Southwest USA Road Trip 2012


This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In October 2012, Ken and I took a two week road trip around the Southwestern United States.  We flew to Albuquerque, NM and then drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico >Canyon de Chelly, Arizona > Moab, Utah > Monument Valley, Utah > Lake Powell, Arizona > Grand Canyon (South Rim).

The last “big” stop of our Southwest USA Road Trip was the Grand Canyon. Our trip would officially end with one night in Las Vegas, but since we’d both been there twice in the last several years, we weren’t planning on much for our one night there.

We stayed on Grand Canyon property for all three nights. Specifically, we stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge, which I had booked nearly a year in advance. If you want to stay within the Grand Canyon grounds, you MUST book far in advance! By the time I had booked, the El Tovar, the hotel I preferred, was already completely sold out! I was actually quite impressed by the Thunderbird Lodge though, and we even had a partial canyon view!

View from Thunderbird Lodge at Grand Canyon Thunderbird Lodge - Grand Canyon Hotels

On our first evening, we walked around the South Rim, near the hotels.

Sunset at the Grand Canyon Folks standing near the edge of the grand canyon viewing cameras at the grand canyon

Later that evening, after we had gone to dinner at a neighboring Grand Canyon hotel, I had to go to our parked car to pick up a few things. As I walked back to the hotel, I looked up and said to myself, “Wow, I don’t remember seeing that elk (or whatever) statue when we first got here.” Then the damn thing MOVED. I yelped, not quietly, drawing the attention of folks down the walkway. I just calmly said, “Oops, sorry. Nothing to be concerned about. I was just startled by this GIANT ANIMAL.”  Nice going Melissa.  Being startled by nature WHILE IN NATURE.

Elk at Grand Canyon

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

The next morning, we woke up early to enjoy sunrise at the Grand Canyon.

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon Sunrise at the Grand Canyon Sunrise at the Grand Canyon Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

South Rim Trail

After some breakfast, we started on a few of the very easy trail hikes on the South Rim. We took the Grand Canyon shuttle bus to Mather Point, and began the three mile hile back to Grand Canyon Village, where our hotel was.

Mather Point at the Grand Canyon View of the Grand Canyon from Mather Point

There were a few signs at Mather point telling visitors not to throw coins in the canyon.

Coins Can Kill - Grand Canyon

The next viewpoint on the trail was Yavapai Point.

Yavapai Point at the Grand Canyon View from Yavapai Point

At Yavapai point, there was an indoor science building explaining the history and geology of the canyon. There were also binoculars available for visitors to use.

Using binoculars at Yavapai point Graphical depictions of the Grand Canyon Graphical depictions of the Grand Canyon

Along the trail, there are pieces of stone and rock from each time period layer of the Grand Canyon. Here’s one of the newer ones at 1.190 million years old

Grand Canyon Supergroup Bass Limestone

Hermits Rest Trail

After our three mile easy hike along the South Rim Trail, we rested our legs at the hotel room, and then took a shuttle bus to the very end of the Hermit’s Rest Trail. We then took the shuttle to each lookout point along the trail. There is an option to hike the entire trail, but it is very long, and unfortunately we didn’t have the time.

View from Hermits Rest Trail at the Grand Canyon

Some folks liked getting really close to the edge. Ken and I were not among those people.

People standing close to edge of Hermits Rest Trail Lookout points along Hermits Rest Trail Lookout points along Hermits Rest Trail Lookout points along Hermits Rest Trail

At one of the lookouts along Hermits Rest, there were National Park Rangers investigating reports of individuals hunting or otherwise using guns inside the Canyon, which is a big no no. They were radioing down to Rangers stationed inside the Canyon once they pinpointed their location.

Park rangers at Grand Canyon Park Rangers looking for illegal activity at Grand Canyon

We finished up all the lookout points along Hermit’s Rest.

View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout

We could even spot the Colorado river and some rapids all the way from the rim!

View of Colorado River from South Rim of Grand Canyon along Hermits Rest Trail View of Colorado River from South Rim of Grand Canyon along Hermits Rest Trail

After the slightly unnevering experience of seeing those giant elk in front of our hotel the night before, what did we see the next night when we went to the hotel next door to go to dinner. EVEN BIGGER ELK, this time males. Look at those antlers!

Elk at Grand Canyon Elk outside Thunderbird Lodge at Grand Canyon

When we went to dinner, we told the waiter about the sighting. He said that the Elk LOVE that grassy area in front of the Thunderbird Lodge, because it is one of the few irrigated areas along the canyon rim. So they love the refreshing watered grass!

Bright Angel Trail

The next day, we decided to try a small segment of the Bright Angel Trail. For those not familiar, Bright Angel Trail is one of the two trails that will take you all the way to the canyon floor. There are MANY signs warning you not to hike down and back in the same day. Our goal was the reach the first “rest house” and then turn around and hike back up to the rim. We didn’t make it to the rest house (we’re THAT out of shape), but it was still nice to descend into the Grand Canyon, even if just for a little bit.

Bright Angel Trail sign Instructions for what to do if you see a group on mules Hiking down the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking down the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon

And we spotted these fools way beyond the dangerous overlook sign.

Danger signs along Bright Angel Trail Danger signs along Bright Angel Trail

There are mule ride options down Bright Angel trail. Maybe on a future trip, we can do that!

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I must say, the trail was very well maintained, and there was very little to trip on, which is always a relief to my klutzy self! I’m not terribly afraid of heights, so the steep cliffs didn’t bother me too much, but it helped that the trail was nice and wide so you never had to get too close to the edge.

Ken hiking along the Bright Angel Trail

After we hiked back up to the rim, we basically took it easy the rest of the day. We always seem to peter out on the last one or two days of a vacation. We hit up some gift shops at the Grand Canyon, had some dinner, and that was it!

If you go to the Grand Canyon, I definitely recommend staying on Grand Canyon property! We literally went three full days without having to leave Grand Canyon grounds, which is a good thing, because it was probably a 20 mile drive just to EXIT the park. Everything you could possibly need is available at the Grand Canyon. Yes, there is a bit of a price premium, but it’s not that bad. Heck, even their bottled beers were six bucks, which is cheaper than you can get a beer at a restaurant here in the DC area! Restaurants, hotels, gift shops, and even a small grocery and general store is available.

Have you visited the Grand Canyon?  What did you think?


Lake Powell and Page, AZ (Including Antelope Canyon)

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Southwest USA Road Trip 2012


This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In October 2012, Ken and I took a two week road trip around the Southwestern United States.  We flew to Albuquerque, NM and then drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico >Canyon de Chelly, Arizona > Moab, Utah > Monument Valley, Utah > Lake Powell, Arizona > Grand Canyon (South Rim).

Our first stop in Page, AZ was Upper Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, and you have probably seen gorgeous pictures of the beams of sunlight gleaming down in Antelope Canyon.

Sunlight beam in Upper Antelope Canyon | Page, Arizone

Like many other aspects of our Southwest USA road trip, visiting Antelope Canyon required a Navajo guide. I had read reviews of Upper Antelope Canyon before we left, and they were all pretty much the same … Beautiful, but WAY TOO CROWDED.

Oh well, I thought. It is too stunning to miss. And while, yes, it was stunning, our experience overall was a disappointment. First, the stunning part!

Upper Antelope Canyon Upper Antelope Canyon Upper Antelope Canyon Tour Upper Antelope Canyon - Crowds Upper Antelope Canyon Upper Antelope Canyon Upper Antelope Canyon

As you can see from the photos, it was very crowded, especially in the more narrow areas of the canyon. There was virtually no time to stop and take decent photographs because the guide had to rush in every group, so the next group wouldn’t catch up. (That never worked, all of the groups were bumping in to each other). Because all of the groups were so close to each other, all you heard were guides trying to shout over one another. So, it definitely wasn’t a peaceful experience! Then, when you reached the end of the canyon, you had to walk straight back through the canyon without stopping, so not to intrude on any of the other groups, and so you wouldn’t miss your designated truck back to the parking lot.

It was forty bucks per person to enter Antelope Canyon. $80 for two people to experience the canyon for less than one hour. I’m glad we saw Upper Antelope Canyon, but I really question the pricing, especially considering the tour duration and the fact that we felt like herded cattle.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Later that afternoon, we visited Lower Antelope Canyon. It’s kind of like Upper Antelope Canyon’s less famous sibling.

Walking through Lower Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ

It doesn’t get the same sun beam lights like Upper Antelope Canyon, so apparently people must think it is less beautiful.  I, for one, thought it was MUCH more beautiful that Upper Antelope Canyon (perhaps because we had practically the entire place to ourselves). Plus, it was half the price, at $20 per person.

Entrance fees to Lower Antelope Canyon

So, can you spot the entrance to Lower Antelope Canyon in this photograph?

Entrance to lower antelope canyon

No? How about if Ken stands just inside the entrance?

Ken standing in entrance to Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon did require a bit more physical ability. After seeing the first few sets of steep metal stairs, I was starting to worry we might have another Fiery Furnance incident on our hands. But, thanks to the handrails at most of the steps, my klutziness stayed at bay.

Metal stairs in Lower Antelope Canyon Steps in Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon got EXTREMELY narrow in certain points. Luckily neither of us is claustrophobic, but wow, it was a tight squeeze at certain points.

Narrow walls in Lower Antelope Canyon Lower Antelope Canyon

We enjoyed walking around Lower Antelope Canyon for probably two hours, and we barely encountered anybody else! (I should point out that we had a “photography permit,” which allowed us to wander by ourselves. Otherwise you need to stick with the guide.)

Lower Antelope Canyon Lower Antelope Canyon Lower Antelope Canyon Lower Antelope Canyon Lower Antelope Canyon

Anyway, I highly recommend Lower Antelope Canyon. You do need to take caution there though.  There are all these net ladders around the top of the canyon, necessary in case of an emergency.  There was a tragedy at Lower Antelope Canyon in the late 1990s. A flash flood hit the canyon, killing 11 tourists. The guide told us the story before we entered the canyon, and explained that alarms would sound if rain was approaching, at which point, we should haul ass to the exit. In case you couldn’t make it to the exit, the net ladders would be dropped so you could climb out. Scary stuff, but very unlikely to happen without warning again.

Lake Powell Boat Tour

The Lake Powell area is great for houseboaters. Or, like us, you can just take a boat tour! Lake Powell is an entirely man made lake, created by the nearby Glen Canyon Dam.

Tour Boat area at Lake Powell Houseboats on Lake Powell

Our boat tour took us to many scenic areas on the lake!

Views from Lake Powell tour boat Views from Lake Powell tour boat Views from Lake Powell tour boat Views from Lake Powell tour boat

We even got to see some kayakers and water skiers.

Kayaking on Lake Powell Jet skiing on Lake Powell

Glen Canyon Dam

Next up, we went on a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam, offered by the National Park Service.

Glen Canyon Dam Tour Glen Canyon Dam Tour Glen Canyon Dam Tour Glen Canyon Dam Tour

The bridge that runs parallen to the dam was stunning.

Bridge at Glen Canyon Dam

Some old heavy equipment is on display on top of the dam, so that visitors can look at it closeup. If I recall correctly, the yellow machine was used to pour concrete.

Glen Canyon Dam Tour Glen Canyon Dam Tour

And we got to see where the magic happens – the huge generators.

Generators at Glen Canyon Dam

Sunset on Lake Powell

One evening, we drove around the lake during sunset. So beautiful!

Sunset at Lake Powell Sunset at Lake Powell Sunset at Lake Powell Sunset at Lake Powell

 

Horseshoe Bend

To end our time in Lake Powell, we made a quick stop at Horseshoe Bend. It was a quick and easy hike to the bend, and the sign gave some ominous warnings.

Warning sign at Horseshoe Bend Trail to Horseshoe Bend

Then we arrived at the bend! I never quite got the money shot at Horseshoe Bend, because that would’ve required getting too close to the edge for my liking. But, you can check out what it “should” look like here.

Horseshoe Bend Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ

As you can see, there were plenty of folks willing to go to the edge!

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That’s it! We were on our way to the Grand Canyon!


Monument Valley – Southwest USA Road Trip (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Southwest USA Road Trip 2012


This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In October 2012, Ken and I took a two week road trip around the Southwestern United States.  We flew to Albuquerque, NM and then drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico >Canyon de Chelly, Arizona > Moab, Utah > Monument Valley, Utah > Lake Powell, Arizona > Grand Canyon (South Rim).

This post covers our fourth stop, Monument Valley!

Following our time in Moab, Utah, we drove south to Monument Valley. We had booked a room at one of the two hotels available, called TheView. And my GOODNESS did it live up to its name!

The drive from Moab to Monument Valley was spectacular. In fact, it is the same route, U.S. Highway 163, that is the set for many films. (It’s where Forrest Gump ended his three year run!)

Viewing Monument Valley from Road View of Monument Valley from the Highway

Once we arrived, we settled into our hotel, and enjoyed the stunning views from our hotel balcony.

View of Monument Valley from our Hotel Room at The View Hotel
We walked around the grounds, and ate at the hotel (I really don’t think there were any restaurants within a reasonable driving distance other than the hotel.)

So, I think this is a good time to bring up an odd observation from our Southwest USA Road Trip: A complete lack of Americans. Seriously, no joke. After Albuquerque, the vast majority of folks we encountered were Germans, followed by some Brits. You’d think we were in Germany for all the German language we heard on the trip. Americans weren’t a majority again until the Grand Canyon.

While we were standing in line waiting for a table for dinner at TheView, an older British couple was standing behind us. In her cute British accent, the woman asked us, “Excuse me, are you AMERICANS??” We replied with a chuckle, and a “Yep! Definitely!” She said, “Can you tell us where are all the OTHER Americans? We’ve been in this region touring for more than a week, and all we’ve seen are Germans and other Brits!” We were all like, “Yep! Concur! And we have no idea!”

We speculated on a couple of reasons … Like the fact that it was October and most kids were in school. But that wouldn’t explain why Americans with no children or grown children weren’t traveling. And we also speculated that these were such remote areas for Americans to reach. Really, we were just grasping for reasons, but had no idea why there were hardly any Americans in the area.

On our next stop, the Lake Powell / Page, AZ area (which I’ll talk about in the next post in this series), a Navajo guide said that 70% of their business comes from non-Americans. We were flabbergasted.

Anyway, end the odd observation story.

As the evening progressed, dark clouds started rolling in. It was October, and our guide in Canyon de Chelly had mentioned that this area had not had any rain since July. Yikes! And we were about to be there for the first rain in three months!.

Ken on TheView hotel grounds TheView Hotel in Monument Valley

I just really hoped that the weather would clear up by the morning, because the sunrise in Monument Valley was supposed to be spectacularly beautiful.  

Around 3:30 in the morning, Ken and I were both awakened (woken up?) by tremendous thunder outside. I was having trouble falling back asleep, and decided to see what I could capture with my camera. After fumbling with my tripod in the middle of the night and taking about 150 uselessly black photographs, I managed to capture these shots.

Lightning Storm in Monument Valley Lightning strikes in Monument Valley Storms and Lightning in Monument Valley, Utah

The storms moved through the area, and we managed to fall back asleep (although not after I walked full force into our closed sliding glass balcony door. I had forgotten that I closed it while I was outside in an attempt to not disturb Ken).

So, we didn’t capture sunrise because it was still quite cloudy. But I was totally okay with that. What we got to capture instead were incredibly moody shots of Monument Valley, which I assume are a rarer shot that the ubiquitous sunrise shots!

Cloudy Sunrise in Monument Valley - View from TheView Hotel Room Cloudy Sunrise in Monument Valley - View from TheView Hotel Room Cloudy Sunrise in Monument Valley - View from TheView Hotel Room Cloudy Sunrise in Monument Valley - View from TheView Hotel Room Cloudy Sunrise in Monument Valley - View from TheView Hotel Room

By the time we showered and went to breakfast, the clouds had cleared and it was going to be a beautifully sunny day!

View from restaurant at Monument Valley The View Hotel Monument Valley

We had arranged for a Navajo tour guide that afternoon in Monument Valley. There are some parts of Monument Valley accessible by car without a Navajo guide, but the roads are really, really rough. We didn’t have a 4 wheel drive (just our little economy rental car), and we wanted the benefit of hearing more about the area from a local guide.

Our guide picked us up at the hotel in a Jeep, and we started our tour. First, our guide pointed out the “right mitten.” (Because it looks like a mitten!)

Right Mitten - Monument Valley

And then right and left mitten together.

Left Mitten and Right Mitten - Monument Valley

And this formation was called the Three Sisters. If you look at it creatively, it looks like the profile three nuns standing.

Three Sisters - Monument Valley Monument Valley Driving Tour Monument Valley Driving Tour Monument Valley Driving Tour

Our guide pointed out this formation, called “Totem Pole”

Totem Pole- Monument Valley

Then our guide stopped at this formation which had a nearly perfect circle formed in the “ceiling.”

Circle roof formation in Monument Valley Wide angle shot of the circle formation

Our guide had us lean against the structure to get a better view. I snapped this picture of Ken and our guide.

Monument Valley formations

As we continued our tour, our guide pointed to some Hogans, or traditional Navajo dwellings,

Hogans - Traditional Navajo Dwellings - Monument Valley

The landscape of the area is just truly stunning. I’d definitely recommend a tour of the area to anybody!

Monument Valley Driving Tour Monument Valley Monument Valley

When our guide dropped us back at our hotel, we stopped by the “Trading Post” at the hotel, which is essentially just a gift shop. While there, I went to the restroom, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at this sign in the ladies’ room!

Funny signs - please do not bathe in sink

And that was it for our time in Monument Valley! We only spent one night there, and then we were on our way to Lake Powell!


Moab, Utah – Southwest USA Road Trip (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Southwest USA Road Trip 2012


This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In October 2012, Ken and I took a two week road trip around the Southwestern United States.  We flew to Albuquerque, NM and then drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico > Canyon de Chelly, Arizona > Moab, Utah > Monument Valley, Utah > Lake Powell, Arizona > Grand Canyon (South Rim).

This post covers our third stop, Moab, Utah!

After seeing Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona, we drove about four hours north to Moab, Utah. While there’s lots of outdoor and adventure activities in Moab, we visited mostly to see Arches National Park.

Arches National Park in Moab, Utah

There are many hikes in Arches National Park, ranging from easy to hard. We’re not seasoned hikers (plus, I’m a tremendous klutz, which I’ve mentioned many times here!), so we stuck to the easy ones, with the exception of one, Fiery Furnace (more on that further below).

This was an area of Arches called “Park Avenue.”

Park Avenue trail and hike at Arches National Park Park Avenue trail and hike at Arches National Park - HDR photo Park Avenue trail and hike at Arches National Park

And an area called the Courthouses.

Courthouses Arches National Park

Driving between the different areas in Arches National Park, you could see these petrified sand dunes, which made it look like we were on Mars or something.

Petrified Sand Dunes at Arches National Park

One of the more famous landforms at Arches is Balanced Rock.

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park (HDR shot) Balanced Rock at Arches National Park Balanced Rock at Arches National Park Balanced Rock at Arches National Park Balanced Rock at Arches National Park

And can I please just point out the absolutely stunning weather and skies we had! And there were virtually no crowds. October was a fantastic time to visit!

Fiery Furnace Fail

Okay, let’s talk about Fiery Furnace for a few minutes. The Fiery Furnace is an area of Arches National Park that is only accessible by ranger-led hike (unless you go through a special permitting process) or with an authorized guide. Arches National Park mentions that it is a difficult hike, while reviews on TripAdvisor were like, “I’m a 65 year old grandmother and I thought it was very easy and I think Arches National Park just doesn’t want many people to go,” and “This is not nearly as difficult as the website makes it out to be!”

So, we booked our reservation far in advance, and we met up for our Fiery Furnace tour. I only made it like 5 minutes. I was almost a crying mess. I kept slipping on the gravelly surfaces and tripping on the sloped rocky formations.

Here I am grabbing onto any surface I can!

Fiery Furnace Hike

We got to a point and the guide asked us if anybody felt they had to turn around, and I raised my hand. There was just no way I could spend another two hours in such as stressed out mess worrying that I was going to break an ankle. Ken and I turned around and left.

Fiery Furnace Hike

Here’s a view of the rock formations outside Fiery Furnace.

View outside Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park

This may seem a little silly, but I was really feeling dejected at that moment. I love experiencing beautiful places and getting to see amazing and unique landscapes (and taking photographs of them!). And I was feeling really down that I am just not coordinated enough to do things like rocky hikes. And that people who ARE coordinated don’t quite understand what it’s like to always feel off balance and clumsy. I didn’t get to experience something I really wanted to, and I was mad, like there was something I could do to help “fix” klutziness.

After the Fiery Furnace incident, we drove to the main area of Moab to have some lunch. Ken asked what I wanted to do next, and I looked at him and said, “I don’t even know if I want to go back to Arches!” I felt like I probably wouldn’t be able to do ANY of the other trails there. But, after some lunch, I was feeling better about the situation and we headed back to Arches.

(By the way, less than a year later, I was watching the Today Show, and saw a segment about how scientists and engineers have done experiments that show some people really are just born clumsy! Somehow that made me feel better about the Fiery Furnace situation, even months later!)

More Hikes at Arches

Next up, we did a short hike to the Sand Dune Arch.

Ken squezing through during hike to Sand Dune Arch at Arches National Park Hike to Sand Dune Arch at Arches National Park Sand Dune Arch at Arches National Park Melissa at Sand Dune Arch

And then we took another quick-ish hike to Broken Arch. It’s called Broken Arch because there originally two arches at that location, but in the 1940s, one of them collapsed.

Sign for Broken Arch Broken Arch at Arches National Park Ken standing under Broken Arch

Then our next stop was Windows and Turret Arches (two arches accessible on one trail).

This is North Windows Arch:

North Windows Arch - Windows at Arches National Park

And to the right of where I was standing, you could also see Turret Arch.

Turret Arch at Arches National Park

But first, we walked the trail to the North and South Windows arches.

North Windows Arch North Windows Arch Ken sitting under the North Windows Arch View from sitting under North Windows Arch

Then we walked over to the South Windows Arch, right next to North Windows

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And as we walked to Turret Arch, we could get both North and South Windows Arches in the same frame!

Windows Arch

Then we spent a lot of time walking around Turret Arch.

Turret Arch Turret Arch

Turret Arch

Ken, who is luckily much less clumsy than me, climbed the rocky surface to sit directly under Turret Arch. I stayed put and just took photos from the base of the Arch! (He’s the tiny dot sitting about 1/3 up from the bottom of the photo).

Ken Sitting under Turret Arch

Our final stop for the day was Delicate Arch. The hike to Delicate Arch was described as a difficult one. Having learned my lesson from earlier in the day, we decided we’d just go to one of the viewing points for Delicate Arch instead of hiking up to it. Again, I was kinda disappointed, but I think it was good to recognize my limitations.

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah Delicate Arch

The next morning, after checking out of our hotel, we stopped by Arches again for just a few more hikes we hadn’t gotten to yet.

Here was Double Arch, which was a nice and easy hike.

Double Arch Double Arch Double Arch

And we also checked out a trail called the Devil’s Garden, which had many arches along the way.

This one was Tunnel Arch:

Tunnel Arch at Devil’s Garden at Arches National Park Tunnel Arch

Pine Tree Arch was also stunning in the Devil’s Garden area. It looked like visitors used to be able to hike under this arch, but the trail has been closed. Upon closer inspection, there’s a huge crack along the curve of the arch. We figure that the park expects it to collapses sometime soon … like within the next hundred years.

Pine Tree Arch Pine Tree Arch - Devil’s Garden - Arches National Park

Besides the Arches, the Devil’s Garden trail also had just generally stunning landscapes!

Devil’s Garden - Arches National Park Devil’s Garden - Arches National Park Devil’s Garden - Arches National Park

And that was it! I wanted to point out that we stayed at a hotel called the Red Cliffs Lodge. Although it was farther than many of the other hotels in Moab, the drive on Highway 128 from the main area of Moab to our hotel was just SO SO stunning. Amazingly beautiful. If you ever find yourself driving through this area, make sure you drive along that road!