June 11, Day 10: We rose early in the morning to catch Arches National Park at Daybreak. Views were surreal; it was as if we were in a Mars science-fiction movie. The rocks reflected the fiery orange of the sunrise, with the gibbous moon hanging high above in the azure vault of the sky. In the far distance, Colorado peaks were still touched with snow, and dusty green brush filled the broad foreground.
Devils Garden Loop and Seven Arches
Our goal for the day was a desert hike – Devil’s Garden Loop. The first part was glorious as we wandered in the morning cool. But the trek was 10 miles long and over 6 hours of hiking as we marveled at the desert. The heat rose, and the trail more primitive as we went.
As the scrambling increased, we realized that our hiking shoes were inadequate for the task. Mine began to disintegrate (they were more than ten years old). Jean’s tread gave out, and she slipped hip-deep into a gully full of water. After the initial shock, I think she was glad for the cool, as the temperature continued to climb. Our feet grew heavy with fatigue, until we realized the shoes had filled with sand. Emptying them felt deliriously good. Or maybe that was just the heat getting to us as we’d run out of water…
A mile or so later, we both gulped down a (very) warm bottle of water from the Jeep. We were literally too tired to drive back to the Airbnb, so we parked the Jeep near the entrance to the park, and immediately fell asleep. Thirty minutes later, we regained consciousness to the sound of a Harley rumbling by, rubbed the sleep from our eyes, and moved on.
Arches at Daybreak was glorious, but it was a long, hot day. Next time we’ll bring more water, and start even earlier.
P.S. We bought new hiking shoes on the way back to the Airbnb!