What a night…..an adventure.
The gusts of wind worried us enough that Everette climbed out of the tent around 10 to discover the sound was much fiercer than the wear on the tent. We had felt as if the tent was being lifted up, and I was imaging us flying like a kite until the van, with us attached, flipped on its side. I felt better after Everette’s evaluation, and since the air wasn’t too nippy I suggested we step outside for a drink. It was raining but nothing too much to interrupt a Screwdriver.
The drink did me well. I actually wasn’t bothered by the gusts and finally found sleep.
We awoke to a rattling of the tents around 2:50am and could hear those in the other rooftop were rattled awake by the wind, too. Everette thought (again) about packing up the tents, cramming in the van and sleeping sitting up. Didn’t appeal to me (nor to him, really) so I asked if he would once again go out and evaluate the situation. The bark was worse than the bite, and he climbed back up into the tent to try and slumber the rest of the night away (somewhat successful).
The wind was still strong when the sun rose. The youngest four took me for a hike up to an arch while Everette and Mitchell made pancake breakfast.
Then we headed out for some cold hikes in the park. Its much, much colder today than any previous day. We’ll revamp our plans and do more driving today than hiking. Snow is still in the forecast.
Most of the family hikes to Tunnel Arch
and then to Pine Tree Arch
where we meet up with Ellie (Eleanor) from Calgary who informs us that we did outdrive the snow that arrived in Salt Lake City, and that she has lots of snow to deal with as she heads back to work. We aren’t south enough yet. Hopefully within a few days we will be.
Mitchell and Everette run up to view Skyline Arch.
“The park lies atop an underground salt bed that is responsible for the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths of this mecca for sightseers.
“Except for isolated remnants, today’s major formations are salmon-colored Entrada Sandstone, in which most arches form, and buff-colored Navajo Sandstone.” (Nat’l Park Service brochure)
Arches National Park has the largest concentration of natural stone arches in the world. More than 2,500!!!
Arch: the hole has to be at least 3′ long in any one direction. Some are “so skinny you have to place your cheek up against the rock in order to see any light through them.”
Natural Bridge: spans either a present or former waterway, and is formed by running water. There are very few at Arches.
Window: a descriptive term given to rock opening high on a rock wall or fin. They might be an arch that “frame” a spectacular view of the landscape beyond.
There’s also hoodoos, spires, towers, etc. Whatever they are called, they are spectacular and inviting, every single direction you gaze.
New arches are still being formed slowly due to erosion and weathering. Old ones are being destroyed, by the same forces. Changes usual coming slowly. However, in 1991 a rock slab 60′ long, 11′ feet wide, and 4′ thick fell from the underside of the Landscape Arch. It left behind an even thinner ribbon of rock.
We stop in at the Visitor Centre back at the entrance to the park and are shocked, literally shocked, to not only see a Bighorn Sheep, but saw it run right beside the parking lot and start bouncing its route up the nearby rocks. As far as the park goes, these first 3 miles of the park road are the best places to spot them. Historically these desert bighorns (obis canadensis nelson) ranged in large numbers throughout most of the Colorado Plateau, but today, only a few remain. We are stoked we got to see one up close.
We drive the short distance into Moab & go to the Visitor Centre for internet and to check-in about the weather & camping options. It isn’t looking good around here for the next few days. Not for campers, anyways. Tonight will be colder than last, and Sunday even colder.
We headed to Colorado for Danaka to meet up with an online friend from a writing forum.
Originally we were expecting to be there sometime next week, but then moved it up to this weekend as we wanted to stay ahead of the cold. We stop at her friends for about an hour late at night, driving in snow nearly the whole way from Moab, UT to Olathe, CO. These teen girls are night owls so the lateness doesn’t fizz them at all. We hit the road again, driving thru the night with some snow, some ice, but nothing serious, Everette & I sharing the driving duty.