Moab pt. 3

By the final morning of our stay in Moab, the hotel breakfast was barely cutting it. There’s only so many days in a row you can eat Golden Malted Waffles at the complimentary La Quinta lobby breakfast. After eating just enough to sustain us and not much more, we head out to the Moab Visitors’ Center to inquire about a dog friendly hike nearby that was relatively mild and sent us exploring a different part of canyon country. We were directed up Kane’s Creek Road, opposite the Colorado River from Potash Rd, to a dirt road that hooked and whirled down countless switchbacks to the canyon floor. We stopped at Hunter Canyon and walked a little less than a mile in, side to side straddling a stream. Again, we were enveloped in a stillness, save for the chilly but unfrozen stream’s babbling white noise.. We returned the way we came after exploring the canyon for a bit over an hour: Up the dirt road switchbacks, past the mountain bike trailheads and more petroglyph figures etched in rock, and back to Moab valley to our room.

Jamie and Charley crossing the stream in Hunter Canyon

We didn’t have to say anything, we both knew it by the look on each other’s face. Exhausted, wiped, drained, beat up, worn down. It was time for a lengthy timeout. We took a break at the hotel, watching Friends and The Office and eating sandwiches Jamie got from Red Rock Bakery and Cafe. Freshly made on hearty multigrain bread, the meals filled us up. We took long afternoon naps and began to stir again around 3pm.

We hit the road yet again to Arches National Park to hike up to Delicate arch. Delicate arch is the most photographed arch in the park, and for good reason, its stunning. We had done this hike once before in October, along with crowds of other people who we had to share the view with. This time we decided to go at sunset, to hopefully have the arch to ourselves, and to get some views of the orange glow as the sun goes down.

The walk to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park covers about a mile and half. Crossing over Salt Creek on footbridge and past Wolfe Ranch (a shoddy clay-and-wood structure heaved up in a slanted fashion, no bigger than a decent sized modern bathroom on the interior), up and down some slopes and traversing a massive slab of tilted slickrock, we arrived at the flat portion of the hike. With the La Sal mountains as our backdrop, we walked through and past natural baths and pools and dry streambeds. The approach to Delicate Arch brought us up through something of a back door; we climebed up and around a bend. To the left was a dropoff and lower-lying areas covered in orange rock and shrubbery; the path is only maybe 5 feet wide in spots before the ridge dropoff. To the right was a wall of sandstone too high to see over. The trail shot us out on the rim of a natural arena, set in beneath us like a desert Coliseum. Delicate Arch was on the other side of the large bowl, with fracture lines in the base of both legs like a sword cutting through fruit, sitting precariously on the precipice of a several hundred foot fall. It looked like even the slightest shake would send it tumbling down.

We waited as the sun drifted helplessly toward the horizon. It splashed an impressive, soul-warming orange glow on the arch as the horizon began to swallow it. But the temperature continued to drop. Once the sun disappeared, it became chilly, and we decided to head back to the car. It was a brisk meander down the path to the trailhead.

Archie, Canyon, and Peak. All good baby boy names. At least I thought so. I spent the ride down and back to Moab trying to convince Jamie of the same for our hypothetical children. It’s a work in progress.

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