Exploring Moab: Part II

September 8, 2007 at 4:54 pm

There’s a few more new photos up in the gallery!

Sunday morning seemed warmer still, and Mark and I were starting to feel a little fatigue from the hot restless nights in the desert. The origional plan for this day had been to drive down to the Needles district in Canyonlands National Park. We were going to have the family drop us off at a crag in Indian Creek, and let them go about their day in the national park. But the previous day had been so hot, and we never found a crag we liked at Indian Creek that wasn’t south or west facing, so we decided to spend another day in Moab.

TJ made it to Delicate Arch

This time Dad and TJ went for a bike ride in the morning, and the rest of us met them at the Jailhouse for a big, tasty breakfast. Then we packed everything up, and TJ got together everything for the large format camera he brought with him, and we headed out to Arches for another day of hiking in the desert.

Our hike up the trail to Delicate Arch

Our goal for the day was Delicate Arch, which is about a 2 mile hike from the parking lot (4 miles round trip). By the time we reached the trailhead (just before 11a), it was packed full and temperatures were soaring. There seemed to be a lot of pink and unhappy children on the trail that day. Plus plenty of extremely over-dressed (who wears velor in the desert?) or under-dressed (this trail should not be shirt-optional for you!) people.

Amazing arch and mountains

The arch was, as always, stunning. Mom and Dad were very proud of themselves for the hike, and TJ and I spent about 45 minutes working with the film, film holders, tripod, metering, and camera to get either one or two pictures. Well, we took two pictures. We just weren’t sure how many sheets of film were in the holder. And yes, all of this work did involve interesting activities such as TJ focusing on the ground glass with a giant black bag over his head, Mark asking everybody to please move out of the way of our picture for just a moment, and several people asking how much it would cost them to buy our picture of them (which we weren’t taking) once they got back to town.

Clouds getting bigger

We hiked out quickly, and then grabbed a late lunch before Mark and I headed back to Potash Road one more time. Due to early evening plans, we found ourselves at the shady crag with only an hour to climb.

Nervous in Suburbia (5.10a) – This sport climb was two routes down from where we were the previous evening, and I had been wanting to give it a shot. I remembered not being able to climb this route at all two years ago, and I really wanted to give it another try. Mark felt it would be worth climbing, so he started up on his lead. The first bolt is high off the ground, and you have to do one of those long “reach your foot over with bad hands – transfer weight – stand up on one foot with bad hands” slab moves about 15ft off the ground before you can clip it. YIKES. Mark was freaking out, but he made the move. Other cruxes in the climb had slightly less than optimal boltage as well, and Mark was seeing Elvis leg for the first time in years. On my turn I fell over and over again. I hung there forever trying to work out a way to get through the two cruxes. I did eventually find a way, but surely some of it involved hanging on the rope to move my feet over. It was embarrassing, and by the time we headed back to camp, Mark and I were both pretty certain that we may be better at crack climbing, but we suck at slabs right now.

In the evening, we had a big dinner of dutch-oven bar-b-ques with a local river tour company, and then went floating down the Colorado river listening to our cowboy guide point out faces in the rocks and then watching an “old time lightshow” in the soft darkness of the desert night. It was a really nice evening, with lots of good food, and a very nice way to view the river canyons after dark. If you’re interested, check out Canyonlands by Night, the whole family recommends it.

Floating the Colorado River at night
Thanks to Canyonlands by Night for the photos on their website!