So it was lightly sprinkling when we left the Devils Garden trailhead on the path to the Double-O Arch. By the time we got going a bit, the rain stopped, and we had blue skies ahead (and very moody skies behind), with the sun setting setting to the left. Difficult to capture with a camera, but just fine for our eyes.
In our excitement and rush to get out on the trail, we forgot the trail map and didn’t bring a watch, though we discovered later that my cell phone actually got service out there. Initially the lack of a map didn’t seem like much of an issue—the standard National Park Service maps aren’t that detailed and the trail seemed fairly well worn. After a while though there was no trail, just rock.
We ended up taking a fork that wasn’t actually a fork and found ourselves scrambling along the rocks looking for a telltale footprint in the wet sand—or a rock cairn (a pile of rocks arranged by humans)—but we found neither and decided to head back. Until Stephanie caught a glimpse of a cairn on the crest of a rock fin way above us. Given the time and lack of map pressures, I just as soon figured we should head back, but Stephanie wanted to push on. Lesson learned: follow the rock cairns!
Eventually we did make it all the way out to the Double-O Arch, and decided not to continue on the more primitive trail around the loop, given the setting sun and the fact that we already got lost once. So after a snack of baguette and emmentaler cheese, we headed back the way we came, except this time the setting sun cast an orange glow on the already orange rocks and made the trek feel like new.