Arches National Park
Arches National Park is just down the road from Moab. Moab is a really cool town – kind of like a desert version of New Zealand’s Queenstown. Moab is a centre for serious off-roading (every second car is a jacked up jeep) and mountain biking (although in the heat around here that’s crazy).
We spent a night in Moab and actually had a night out for about the first time in a month. We went to the Moab Brewery and drank some locally brewed beer and Sarah ordered a Margarita which when it came was easily a pint. It was great in Utah to be able to get some drinks – they’ve relaxed the drinking laws somewhat since we were last here 5 years ago.
We spent a day in Arches National Park and the first thing we did was to drive right to the end of the paved road to do a hike called the Devil’s Garden Primitive Loop. This was around 7 miles long with all the optional extra side trips. The way out was pretty straightforward with the way back being more interesting due to a number of scrambles over slickrock to travel back through the fins that the way out was above. The highlight of the hike was landscape arch which is a really long thin arch but in all we saw over 10 arches on the way. We started the hike really early after having stayed the night at a brilliantly named campsite called William’s Bottom just outside Moab and next to the Colorado river.
Arches seems to be about the hottest place in Utah and even in mid-October it was well over 30c by midday. Our early start paid off though and by the time we returned it was only really starting to get hot.
In the afternoon we hiked a 1.5 mile slickrock trail to the famous Delicate Arch. Although it was a bit of a scrum here with loads of people so we elected to walk back and not wait for sunset.
We also visited Hole N” The Rock (fantastic punctuation) which is wonderfully cheesy. It is the former home of Albert Christensen and his wife Gladys. They hollowed out a fairly sizeable home out of a solid sandstone cliff. They ran this as a diner before Albert died in 1957. What makes it truly interesting is that the décor is still 1950’s and it is full of pretty kitsch stuff such as the results of Albert’s taxidermy (he wasn’t very talented at this). The house is gorgeous – modernise it and it would be worth a fortune. It took them over a decade to dynamite and chisel it all out and even after Albert died, Gladys in her 60’s decided she wanted a bathtub so hand chiselled herself a new bathroom, quite an impressive lady.