Arches National Park opens at 7:30. Apparently they have 24 first-come, first-serve campsites. Considering we were out late last night—dinner at the Moab Brewery—getting out of the hotel before 7:30 was out of the question. We aimed (optimistically) for 9, got there after 9:40. Not too bad considering we’re on vacation. Of course the campsites were all taken (turns out only 5 actually became available that morning, and all of them got snapped up right at 7:30) which was a little disappointing. But whatever. We were prepared for another night of Motel 6 camping.
So began a long slow drive into the park, along 18 miles of road that wove through innumerable incredible rock formations. Towers, shear cliffs, walls, petrified sand dunes, and of course: arches. This is just mind-blowing stuff. Like stick the camera out the window while I’m driving (slowly) every other minute. Occasionally we’d stop to hike around one well-known formation or another. But our intended destination was a 7 mile hike at the end of the road.
Unfortunately a rain storm over the Lasal Mountains was slowly creeping our way all morning. We knew from the weather reports this was coming. We just hoped we’d get lucky and fall on the glass half empty side of “there’s a 50% chance of thunderstorms.” Eventually the clouds were messing up the light in my photos, and by the time we got to our hiking destination, Devils Garden, it started to pour.
This actually turned out to be a boon because Stephanie was still recovering from her dance intensity, and needed more sleep. So we parked, she napped, I pulled out a book (and eventually did some napping myself), and it rained. And rained and rained. And Stephanie slept and slept and slept.
A little over 2 hours later I was finishing Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Stephanie started to emerge from her deep nap, and it was still raining. It looked like hiking was a no-go, another bummer. Stephanie took over driving duties with the intention of heading back to Moab, but first decided to explore the campground that we wouldn’t be staying at—it looked really cool.
And then the rain finally let up. It was just before 4, and the sun sets around 7, not leaving much time for a 3-4 hour hike. But what the heck, why not, right? So we parked at the trailhead and quickly prepared for hiking: adding layers, stocking up on water and snacks, changing socks, etc. And we were off. Finally!