Friday, January 21, 2011

On to Arches National Park

On our way from Capitol Reef Park to Arches (Oh, "our" meaning my wife Trudi and I. She flew in to Vegas to join me for a part of the trip.) we were following the directions of the GPS unit to the letter and so far it was on the money. Anyway we were traveling on what appeared to be a new highway (70) through the desert flying alongat 70 MPH. Now we were making good time when, suddenly, the GPS said turn right in 2 miles. Not sure of why it announced this turnoff, I thought it must be a shortcut. After all the GPS wasn't ever wrong so without further question I pulled off the highway onto what seemed like an old paved desert road... Now the GPS announced... "go straight for 27 miles then turn left".
I looked at Trudi and she appeared to have some doubt with the prospect of driving off into the desert.  I said lets try it for a while maybe it is the old road and will be fun. We have lots of water and food and a full tank of gas so off we went into the unknown.

It wasn't long before the road got worse, the desert was reclaiming pieces of it as it clearly had not been driven on for some time. Now we had gone on for 30 or 40 minutes and the road was giving way at the edges to sand and tumbleweeds blew by and the cracks sprouted desert flowers. The GPS said "turn right in 5 miles".  I pushed on… I could see the 70 freeway off in the distance and thought if I can get there we can get back on the main road. So I pushed on… Then the GPS said "turn right" but there was no road at all to turn on at all! I went on… thinking about getting to the highway again, I drove over a hill and low and behold in front of me was highway 70 but there was one small problem. There was a large fence between me and the highway not to mention a deep impassable wash that had been cut by flash floods. Trudi said lets go back, I agreed so we turned around and following our tracks through the sand and drove back. All the time the GPS kept repeating "recalculating, recalculating"… I turned it off glad for the silence.

On the way back we drove through a large rock canyon. I noticed something on the side of the road that I could not see when we drove in, I stopped the car to get a closer look, It was the carcass of a cow. It was skin and bone. I noticed it had been eaten the bones were scared with teeth marks and there were large paw tracks in the sand. "Cougar" I called to Trudi who had stayed in the car. I took some pictures and a creepy feeling of being watched came over me so I quickly got back in the car and we drove on.

I guess if I had seen the cow body coming in I could have read the signs and turned around, but then there would be no story to tell. Soon we were back at the turn off where we started. Trudi breathed a sigh of relief and I could not help but laugh at what was an exciting romp through a desolate tract of forgotten desert. 

Oh by the way, the GPS was right, 30 miles down the highway I recognized the part of the fence where we stopped. If  they didn’t put up the fence and floods cut the ditch we could have saved some time and miles with that very long shortcut through nowhere. Now we were coming into Moab for the night, a place known for desert racing. We found a room at a motel, ate a nice dinner and got a restful sleep. Tomorrow we enter Arches  National Park.

The park is just of Highway 191 and was only minutes from our motel. Driving in you can not help mut look up at the massive walls that followed the road of our accent. Once at the crest I stopped to look back.

Once over the crest I entered the Park Avenue View point. This is so called because of it's resemblance to the skyline of Park Avenue in New York. Check it out and see if you agree. There is so much to see here each turn in the road revels a view more spectacular then the last.
Petrified Dunes

The Upperr Delicate Arch viewpoint.
On the trail to landscape arch.
At the base of Landscape Arch.