Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fiery Furnace Hike, Arches NP


This is a beautiful area of the park, and you can either take a ranger-led hike or get one of the 75 permits they issue each day, and go in on you own. Since we hadn’t been before, we heard it was hard to find your way around if you weren’t familiar with the area. So we sprung for the $10 hike, with 25 or so other people.


When you sign up at the visitor center, they show you several glossy photos of people squeezing through narrow rocks and walking on high ledges. If you don’t think you can do this, they advise you not sign up.  We were fortunate to have a great ranger, Patrick Harris, and a fairly good group of fellow hikers.


The first part of the trail was sandy and out in the open, and the ranger stopped the group a few times  to talk a little about the geology, plants, and animals in the park. Then we got into the maze of sandstone, and the hike got really interesting. P5250105 

We only walked 2 miles and it was mostly flat, but we did quite a bit of scrambling on rocks, jumping over large cracks, scooting on our butts, and squeezing through tight spaces.



This part was optional, and Jim and Debbie opted out, but I crawled under this arch, along with probably half of the group, just because it was there. P5250089

P5250092  It was really a lot of fun, and we got to see several arches that most visitors to the park don’t get to see.

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And lots of  interesting rock formations, which we haven’t tired of seeing yet. And yes, I’m sure we would have gotten lost had we gone on our own, but if we go back to Arches, we will try it by ourselves next time.

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Since it was our last day in the park, we also went to look at Landscape Arch, one of the more famous arches. A giant slab fell off in 1995, so the park service closed the trail that used to go underneath it. It is the longest natural arch in the world at 290 ft, and quite impressive.


Our friend and traveling partner, Debbie, left us today to make her way to Minnesota to visit family for the summer. We will both miss her company, but I especially will miss my laundromat buddy!  We hope to meet up again this winter.

We are in Blanding, Utah tonight, and will head off to Natural Bridges National Monument tomorrow to meet up with Don and Dorothy, our Lazy Daze friends from Birmingham. We may be  out of touch for several days or so, since they like to hang out in the wilderness. Should be fun!

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