Day 10: Colorado bound via Arches National Park.

Our time at Capitol Reef National Park has come to an end.  Tomorrow is Monday and I have pushed off my work obligations as long as I can without causing any serious pain for myself and others. It has been an awesome and unexpected experience as we knew very little about it prior to our arrival.

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The dry camping setup worked pretty well for us in these last couple of nights. We didn’t have to use our generator at all even though we only got a couple hours a day of direct sunlight. We had to consciously conserve and our charge controller was reading a meager 11.42 volts from our battery bank when we woke up this morning. It is time to hitch up and move out.

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The red clay that covers this region of Utah is now everywhere and I suspect it will be with us to some degree for the remainder of our trip.

The drive out of Capitol Reef was fairly uneventful. Our plan is to head out towards I-70 and find some interesting places to stop and do some more sightseeing.

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There is a whole lot of nothing between Capitol Reef and the I-70. As we finally came up on the interstate, we were met with more of the same.

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We drove until we hit Green River, Utah which is apparently the only town until Grand Junction. We got some diesel at the station and ate a quick lunch and headed back on the road.

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One of the big differences between today’s drive versus the last week is the emptiness of these parts of Utah. Between St. George and Torrey, Utah, it seems every 50 to 100 miles there would be a quaint little small mountain village for us to do some exploring. Here out near the Interstate, we just have desert. More and more desert.

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Because of that, we are driving a lot further than we had originally anticipated. The drive was so bland, we decided to make the detour towards Moab so we can do a quick stopover at Arches National Park.

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Arches and Canyonlands are sister parks. They are within a stones throw of each other and if we were planning to stay the night here, we would have gone to both of them. But since our plan was to continue our way east, we had to pick one. Arches it is.

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Arches are know for these fin like stone walls that have eroded from the sandstone plateaus over hundreds of millions of years. Just like Bryce and Capitol Reef, this area was once under sea level. As it started to rise nearly 2 miles above sea level, erosion started to take place and the former underwater salt beds washed away to reveal the harder sedimentation that we these fins. Over time, erosion further carve out holes within the fins to create the famous arches that are seen in this area.

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This is called Balanced Rock. Arches National Park is in the erosion phase of its life cycle and it is happening constantly. In human terms, it is an eternity but in terms of what is happening in this region, these rock formations will soon be gone.

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Since we only had a couple of hours here before the visitor center closes for the day, we saw the park for the most part just by driving through it. The kids are not much for hiking anyways especially in today’s 95 degree heat. We did take the girls out for a 100 yard hike to see Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch that is the unofficial state symbol but that ended up with them complaining about how hot it is and wanting to get back to the air-conditioned van.

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Arches, like Bryce Canyon, is a very popular tourist destination. Being that today is the weekend, the place was packed with people. We much prefer the pace we had during the last 2 days at Capitol Reef where we pretty much had the park to ourselves. Case and point is this guy from Alabama who showed up in his Mercedes Benz. He must have thought that either the German engineering or the lipstick red paint job deserved some special treatment. He decided to park right against the curb where the sign read ‘No Stopping” when half of the parking lot was empty.

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As the sun was starting to set, we headed back to the visitor’s center. By this time, most of the visitor’s had left and the parking lot was almost empty. We detached and left the Mish in the parking lot to do our driving tour based on the recommendation of the park rangers.

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The girls now are fully vested in the Junior Rangers program. Even though we only had a short time here at the park, they had to make sure they left with a badge.

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As always, Mila is weaseling her way into a shiny souvenir.

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Arches National Park. That makes 3 for Ava and 2 for Mila. Of the 2 that Mila has, she maybe only deserves half of one. I am just calling it like I see it.

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Of course on the hottest day of the week, my flip flops have to finally give out on me. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later but now I have to walk across that smoking hot asphalt to the other side where the Mish is parked.

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This trip to Arches National Park is one that we are glad we made time for but definitely needs to be revisited another time. The 60-mile round trip detour was worth it but now it is time to get back on the road again. Looks like we are going to head all the way into Colorado before we will find some kind of civilization.

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Between Arches and Grand Junction, Colorado, there was once again nothing to see. Luckily for us, the peaches and apples we picked at Capitol Reef have ripened just in time. We ate them as a snack to carry us over to a late dinner later once we got into town. They were amazing!

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Hello there, Colorado. We did not expect to see you today but nevertheless, here we are.

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We drove over 250 miles today all in 90+ degree heat. That isn’t a lot to most people but with our little complainers in the car, it was a chore.

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We are glad to finally be here and we need some beers. Big ones.

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Tomorrow, we will start exploring the colorful state of Colorado.

over and out,
dan

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2 Responses to Day 10: Colorado bound via Arches National Park.

  1. Charlene August 14, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    You crack me up Dan. When we went to see the arches Karl and I ended up carrying the twins the whole time. Every step was I’m tired or Im hot. I think I lost 5 lbs in one day that trip. We saw the balancing rock too. Tell the girls its hotter at home so they are lucky.. Take care

  2. Krista August 16, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    Another fun post, especially love the calling out of the winner in the Mercedes!

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