After a rather ridiculous night of listening to a group of awful hicks threatening to smash beer-bottles over their kids’ heads, Nic and I woke up at 6 am to escape from our rather unpleasant campsite and relocate to a small place down the road. For $8 a night, we had a little plot of land, picnic table, and fire pit. There was no running water per se, but we were literally steps from the Colorado river. That’s enough running water for me.
After putting up our tent (we have gotten preeeetty speedy at this), we went back to our other campsite to “check out” and take advantage of their showers for the last time. This might have also been the day we walked into a Holiday Inn next door for their free continental breakfast. I sure hope karma does not exist.
After full stomachs and clean skin, we went back to our oasis: Arches. In the park, there are a bunch of different trail heads you can drive to, so you can either do one or two longer hikes or several shorter ones. We planned on doing the latter, so we could see as much of the park as possible. We hiked a meager .8 miles towards Landscape Arch, which is pictured below. (The arch is sort of camouflaged, but look closely and you’ll see the thinned rock stretching over the landscape). Theeeeen we came across a sign for another hike, which we thought would only be a 1000m loop or so around the arch.
Turns out it was a 5 mile hike, literally climbing up rocks. Woops. I guess we should have taken the sign seriously.
While “primitive trail” was indeed difficult, Nic and I were lucky: the weather was overcast, so the sun wasn’t blaring down on us. It was also relatively cool and humid. We only had one water bottle each and no food, which is insanely stupid for anyone planning on hiking for five miles up slick rock in the desert. But our hike was impromptu, so we’re still intelligent, commonsensical world-class hikers.
So as we kept walking, and walking, not really knowing when the trail would end, we just laughed at the absurdity of it all and took in the amazing scenery. And some pictures.
Lastly, I want to mention something I learned upon hiking in the desert. What makes desert hiking different than mountain hiking is that the landscape doesn’t have to be destroyed. There is no trail-carving in the desert, no cutting down of trees, paving of passageways. Rather, cairns (man-made piles of rocks) are placed every hundred feet or so, so people know what direction to head in. This makes desert-hiking especially fun, for it’s kind of like dot-to-dot desert style: creating a trail that does not actually exist unless you go from one cairn to the next in the right order.
Here is a cairn that Nic and I especially liked. Does it remind you of anything?