Thursday, September 20, 2012

Back to Arches

Technically looking at Arches
National Park across the Colorado
from our campsite
Thursday morning.  This week is going fast.   Got up and had our cereal and coffee and headed out.  We wanted to be at the park a little earlier, in part to beat the crowd, in part to beat the heat.  I wanted to see three things we hadn't seen yesterday ... Landscape Arch, probably the "longest" arch ... and whatever other arches we could see back that direction, and then come back to the Windows area, which Vicki had really wanted to see but we couldn't find parking yesterday when we went through it, and then to see some petroglyphs one of the rangers had told us was off a side trail right past Wolfe Ranch, where the trailhead to Delicate Arch is ... maybe a half mile at the most.

The walk between
sandstone fins at the
Earlier in the morning was definitely better than the middle of the day heat, and we beat the crowds to Devil's Garden where the trailhead to Landscape Arch was.   One other thing I had wanted to do was to walk between some of the giant sandstone "fins" that stick up out of the ground (each free-standing arch was once one of these "fins") ... which you get to do right at the trailhead.

Not too far in was a large sand blowout between two fins that were in the process of separating from one standing fin into two.  The sand was maybe 20 feet deep way inside at the far end, tapering off to our ground level at the end of the fins.

It wasn't early morning light, but it was early enough for some shadows and warmish tones to the sun for photography, and I tried to walk the fine line between taking shots at various angles and zoom ranges and keeping up with Vicki (or not holding her back too much).   She can get frustrated with my constant shutter snapping ... but of course, the first rule of photography is ... be there.  I was "there" ... probably won't be "there" there again any time soon.   Still, I'm conscious of her feelings on the subject, and I try to balance it as best I can.

Landscape Arch
We got back to Landscape Arch ... probably my favorite one.  I kept getting the names mixed up between it and Delicate Arch ... because if any of the arches look delicate, it's Landscape Arch.

Long, narrow (after a chunk fell out several years ago, only 6 feet thick at it's thinnest part) and graceful, this lighter colored arch is kind of tucked back against a long rock wall.

We stopped and took some photos, took some photos of other couples for them, and having ours taken in front of it.

Navajo Arch
There were also three other arches up a trail where you had to climb/hike up some slickrock.  You could see Navajo arch, which is kind of looks like a double arch from our angle at from the Landscape Arch viewing area.  Vicki was worried about coming back down with her balance, so I just went up as far as I could go without losing sight of her.  I'd hoped to perhaps see Double-O Arch, but only got a bit better view of Navajo Arch.   Didn't really want to spend too much time here anyway.  We wanted to get to the Windows section before it filled up again.

We hiked the mile back to the trailhead, hopped in the car, and headed past Wolfe Ranch and back up to the Windows section.   And found a parking spot front and center in the upper lot.

Turret Arch
It was crowded, but there was plenty of room to walk.  We headed first to the North and South Windows, two large arches on the south end of the area ... the largest.   A busload of Japanese dominated the base of the North Window.  There was really no way to get a decent shot of either of them.  Bad sun angle, and too many people, so we just walked around under them and looked at them -- and across at Turret Arch.  Interesting.  From this angle, it looked like a circular fortress of stone with a large window and a turret.  We'll want to go check that out, which we did.   It was much less crowded, and I got some shots of a small window of an arch up high near the turret.  We could see the other arches in the area to our north and east the whole time we were there, so we got a pretty good gander at them.   So we were about done here.  Went back to the car and headed toward Wolfe Ranch to see the petroglyphs.

Wolfe Ranch, second cabin.
Wolfe Ranch is an interesting story.   Yes, someone actually decided to homestead in this stark, dry, barren place.    In 1888, John Wesley Wolfe, suffering from a civil war leg injury, moved there with his son looking for a drier climate which he believed would help his leg. It's a couple of cabins and a corral.   He built a small dam to create tiny reservoir themselves and a few cattle.  The dam is apparently still working ... it was surprising to see fresh water running.  There is a bridge over part of it that is a part of the trail to the petroglyphs and eventually to Delicate Arch, and looking down from it you could see various fish, minnows, bluegill ... and a couple of small ducks.
Wolfe Ranch water source.
The first cabin was a one room cabin.   Apparently John Wolfe's daughter and family moved there in 1906, and she was appalled at the way her father and brother had been living.  They built a second cabin, which is still not very big, but bigger than the almost root-cellar sized first cabin.   They ended up moving into Moab and selling the ranch in 1910 and eventually moved back to Ohio.

Petroglyphs near Wolfe Ranch.
We hiked up the short, maybe 1/4 mile trail to a wall of jumbled rocks where there were some petroglyphs of animals and humans which were probably put there within the last 400 years.  Still.  Pretty cool.  I snapped some pictures of them, and we headed back to the car and ate lunch.

I wanted to take some shots over the salt wash valley once we got farther back up toward the Windows Section, and I stopped the car and got out.  I'd mostly been using the K-r, unless I just didn't want to switch lenses for a shot.  And so I grabbed the K-r with the wide angle telephoto on it.  Took a few shots, then the camera went "click"  instead of "click-click".  I pressed the shutter again.  Click-click.   And then any button I pushed also caused the mirror to flip up and down.  It wasn't taking any pictures.  It would show me the pictures it had.  But even in view mode, any button caused the mirror to flip. Turned it off.  It flipped.  Turned it on. It flipped. Took the battery out.  Put it back in.  It flipped.   Sometimes it would do it several times in a row.
Looking across Salt Wash Valley into extreme eastern Utah.  The last
photo my K-r made as a fully functional camera.
Damn.  I love this camera, and I've only had it since about April 1.

Fortunately, I had my *ist DL fixed, and it was available for duty -- takes the same lenses being a Pentax Digital SLR.   And I had to remind myself, until last April, this was my awesome camera.

We headed out of the park ... and it was only about 1:30 pm.  It's hot back in the campsite.   Let's go check out Dead Horse Point State Park.

We struck out for it, heading north, following the signs.   I was a little confused as to whether or not the GPS had the right spot, and I second guessed it, turning back for town to see if we'd missed a turn.   We got behind a large bus-type RV, and Vicki said later she heard a little "tick!" of a rock hitting the windshield.   We got out a map and double checked how to get there, turned around, and headed back.  That's when I noticed the little ding in the windshield.   We'll want to get that fixed.

Headed back up 191 to 313, and toward Dead Horse point... and, as it turned out... Canyonlands.

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