|Joyce, Charlie, Pam, Wayne, me, Penny and Bob seated for the movie. A kind stranger took the picture. Ernie was MIA.|
|Looking downhill we see the ever growing line of visitors.|
Moab is a short distance down the center highway.
|Bob and Penny lead the way through Courthouse Towers.|
Formations called Three Gossips, The Organ and Tower of Babel lie ahead.
|Up the short walkway to Balanced Rock. The weather was surely cooperating now. Shirt sleeves or light jacket weather.|
Joyce, Penny and Pam lead, followed by Ernie and Bob. Charlie and Wayne pull up the rear.
|Pam took this group photo with the giant Balanced Rock in the background.|
|My favorite "nature" photo at this stop was not of rocks at all.|
|Part of our lunch gang... Left to right, Ernie, Penny, Bob, Wayne and Pam. Charlie and Joyce are somewhere....|
Landscape Arch in Devils Garden was next. This area is was just around the bend from where we ate lunch. A close up view of Landscape Arch would require a near 3 mile hike -- 1.6 each way. I jumped out of the truck to start the hike with the others while Wayne searched for a parking space.
|That's me inside a sandy slot canyon. Joyce was the camerawoman.|
|Looking down onto the trail with snow capped mountains in the far distance.|
About a half mile into the hike, Wayne caught up with Joyce, Charlie and me as we lagged behind Penny, Bob, Pam and Ernie -- the serious hikers among us.
|Wayne dressed today for cooler weather. Here's he's come out of his sweatshirt in just his undershirt.|
Time mixed with weather is the creator of these arches as old ones collapse and news ones are created. The walk was beautiful, despite the crowds. I can't imagine what these National Parks are like during the summer season. The National Park brochure reports more than 2,000 arches are cataloged here -- ranging in size from 3 foot to the longest, Landscape Arch at about 300 feet.
|One of many small, unidentified arches.|
Joyce and Charlie went on ahead of Wayne and me. The thought of Lexie and Ozzie in the truck, along with the crowded trail, dust, hills and warm sun took their toll on Wayne and me. We decided against continuing to the destination Landscape Arch and turned back.
|Another dead tree photo opportunity.|
The vistas and paths through the beautiful red rocks satisfied Wayne and me. We saw Tunnel Arch along our abbreviated walk. The others hiked on to Landscape Arch and later Joyce told me we were really close at the point where Wayne and I turned back. She went on to say the she thought the walk itself was just as thrilling as seeing Landscape Arch.
|Thank you, Pam, for providing your excellent photo of Landscape Arch.|
|Seems to me, this should be called "kissing arch" because of the placement of the two overhead rock formations.|
The trail to Sand Dune Arch is short, flat and easy. It becomes quite narrow in places but opens wide here. The trail does go on past the arch for a little way before closing almost completely and becoming impassable. The sand is deep here inside the canyon and walking is difficult in some places.
|The couple on the left of this photo were trying to get a photograph. |
Our group, (L to R), Joyce, Charlie, Pam, Bob, Ernie and Penny, photo bombed the couple's effort, I think.
|Parts of Sand Dune Arch have fallen and more activity is expected. In this warning sign, a break-off just two months ago is shown. Our group lives dangerously, though and all but Wayne and I insisted on standing under the arch.|
|A bit more Tom-foolery in the Sand Dune Arch slot. That's Penny, Pam and me.|
Joyce, Ever Ready as we call her, the usual explorer, opted out of this bit of rock climbing.
Around 5 o'clock, our group gathered for happy hour at Bob and Penny's campsite before breaking up for the evening. That's their beautiful Entegra Anthem coach in the background.
|Bob, Joyce, Charlie and Mike, another campground neighbor.|
|Mike, his wife (whose name I don't remember) and Penny, holding her dogs|
|Penny, her dogs and Wayne|
|Pam and Ernie|
But inside, the tables were nicely arranged, the mood was authentic and the food was wonderful.