Utah Walkabout – Arches NP

From Calf Creek I had thought to drive north to Goblin Valley State Park and spend the night there on the way to Moab and Arches National Park. Unfortunately, COVID was closing in on us and shutting down most options for tourism. I found a notice on a bulletin board out in the desert proclaiming that the county health departments of the south east counties of Utah had closed all accommodation. This including campgrounds, so the State Park was done 😥

On reaching the town of Green River, on Interstate 70, I was able to verify that Arches National Park was still open to visitors so we pressed on to Moab.

Evening Arrival

It was late when we arrived at the entrance to the park. There was the hint of a sunset in the sky with some clouds still in the west so I rushed up to La Sal Mountains Viewpoint where I managed to capture a mediocre sunset.

Empty Moab

Moab is normally a jumping, happening tourist town. This evening when we drove down into it, we found the streets were empty. Hotels unavailable. Drive up windows on restaurants only.

It was after dark and finding a campsite was going to be difficult. After driving about for a bit I decided to park in a large overlook parking lot. It was empty the highway was quiet.

Going back into town in the morning to forage for breakfast was no less spooky than the evening before – little to no traffic on the streets – no cars parked even – no people. Shades of a Steven King novel.

Back to the Park

I did get coffee and an egg sandwich at the golden arches so I wasn’t wandering about the park on an empty stomach.

The weather promised rain, so I decided not to do the three-mile hike to Delicate Arch, opting instead to view it from the viewpoint.

You can see a couple of hikers on the far ridge to the left of the arch. There is a deep canyon between this viewpoint and the arch so walking up from here is not an option.

Devil’s Garden

There are a number of arches located at the end of the park road at a place called Devil’s Garden. This was our next stop. We hiked out to Landscape Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Tunnel Arch.

Landscape Arch is so large and in a location that makes getting a good photo difficult. Even the stitched panorama I am showing here does not do it justice.

Tunnel Arch was interesting because a herd of local Mule Deer were foraging between it and the viewpoint. As Liddy and I got closer, they became more curious about her. The heads went up, they looked our way and rather than scatter, they prance up quite close.

Double Arch

It was about noon when we arrived at Double Arch. There were more people about, but for one of the more popular National Parks, the head count was…

It was also threatening to rain as we looked about for a composition. The wonderful thing about the cloud cover was that there were no hard shadows. The unfortunate thing about the cloud cover was that it began to rain, and I couldn’t keep the lens dry 😉

It wasn’t much fun anymore – can’t talk to people who aren’t there – can’t enjoy the local food because the restaurants are closed – can’t do anything but take photos.

It was time to go home so that is what we did.

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