04 September 2005

The Devil Ain't Got Nothin' On Us! - Saturday, September 3, 2005

Tyrel’s voice woke me at eleven in the morning. Eleven was check out time! He realized that he’d not set the room alarm clock for eleven in the morning, but perhaps eleven at night, so we immediately called the front desk and were told it was all right and we could take a few extra minutes to clean up and not get charged extra.

We headed up the road into the town of Moab, filled with new age type shops and sporting equipment for biking and other such activities. Tourist information signs guided as to the tourist information center where I decided to be a Parks Pass, which is good for a year for only $50.00, which would pay for itself by time I left for New York. I could have used it at Montezuma’s Castle a few days earlier.

Next to the info center was a small shopping center with a used book store/café where I bought myself some Belgian waffles to fuel up. Tyrel declined to eat, probably having had ten chocolate bars while I wasn’t looking.

We drove along the roads of the park, getting out where we could, to take pictures and hike around. At one of the early stops we came across what we believed was Balance Rock. There’s a lot of similar formations like this out there. It’s a very phallic place.

There is Tyrel atop that rock formation, having free climbed it.

Here are some storms coming in.

Our first arch up close.

If you look carefully, you can see me climbing this thing.

There I am!

Here come more clouds.

Is the sky getting dark?

Hiking up the primitive trail to the Devil’s Playground (but I think it should be named Tyrel’s and my playground, because we kicked its ass!), we could see the storm fronts off in the distance and by time we got to the top, we had a spectacular view of lightning all around as thunder rolled across the land and echoed off the sandstone walls.

Here are some people hiking acorss what is probably one of the highest points in the park.

Rains drenching the lands for miles.

The two incoming storms were very exciting, but not wanting to get struck my lightning, Tyrel and I cramped into a small overhang. Water starting flowing into the alcove from above, due to adhesion and cohesion of the water molecules to the rock and to each others' molecules respectively. Tiny frogs or toads began to hop out from unseen crevices within the alcove.

We hung out there for a spell, and then when the weather seemed to calm down some, we took off down the gorge only to be caught in the monsoon rains. This made the trip to Arches so much more worth it. It's not fun with nice weather and regular touristy stuff. It's my family's luck to have something like this happen while out in some badlands.

Tyrel cowering. :-)

Water running in along the ceiling.

Me inside the alcove.

It's difficult to tell by the picture, but those rock ridges looked amazing, as the rain had glazed them like so many donuts. If we hadn't known it was in the eighties, we'd have though those rocks were iced over. (This picture was taken from inside the alcove.)

The skies soon ruptured a second time, deluging us this time around. We sought cover underneath one of the arches, but it proved futile, so down and down we ran, hopping across slippery red rocks, over once dry crevices, turned to gushing waterways and falls.

A trail that was bone dry an hour before.

The next spot we sought cover was against a cliff wall, where I discovered a small black spider, with a red hour glass figure (I mean its marking and not is physique) and it was thusly killed by Tyrel, as he did not want to worry about the sickness that would follow a bite from such an infamous arachnid.

The view from the rock wall where the black widow had lived.

The water rushed by and the levy we tried to make from sand and dirt did not hold, so we had to make a dramatic leap onto a rock that lay midway in the stream, to the other side with no hesitations. We then had to travel along some once dry water washes, now almost raging mini-rivers.

Next we came upon a large family, having to cross the rapids by scaling across a wooden fence, one at a time.

After that we thought we came upon a shortcut, hopping from the next fence railing to the other side of the torrents, but luckily Ty tested the posts first, as it would have fallen over and Tyrel with it, had he attempted the leap off of the fence as the posts were greatly loosened by the rushing waters.

The rest of the journey down was accomplished by avoiding the now submerged trails and running up and down cacti populated dunes, which was fun, because once at the top of one dune, with some good speed, one could make a thrilling eight foot or greater leap down the other side. It's like gravity was lessened for a few moments and time slowed as well. It's a wonderful feeling.

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