Arches and Canyonlands, June 2011


I lava it!!!
Jan 19, 2012
Arches and Canyonlands , June 2011

Day 1

Like every year I need to spent a few days in the Moab area and do some hiking and exploring.
Even though I've done most of the popular trails several times, it is always a lot of fun and each year is different and offers something new to me.
This trip was no exception. I've expected a lot of sunshine and nice weather, but actually I had to plan around the thunderstoms popping up in the sky several times and caused me to change plans.
After driving down from the swell and setting up camp I decided to explore a little bit of the Island in the Sky district and do the regular tourist stuff along the view points.
My first stop on that first day was at Monitor and Merrimac viewpoint.


I entered the park and shortly after I passed the visitor center I discovered a meadow covered in Globemellow and other wildflowers in full bloom. That was exactly the same spot where
I have taken wildflower shots years ago. :)


The weather was a little bit iffy, but the dark clouds made a perfect contrast to the colored flowers in front of me.
My next stop was at Buck Canyon Overlook and the view was impressive with the dramatic looking sky and a little virga.


Here I also met a couple from Western New York, they were actually living in the southtowns of Buffalo. What a small world. ;)



I also stopped at Grandview Point, but somehow I wasn't bought this time. I was missing a little bit of drama in the sky.
I decided to drive to Greenriver Overlook, that was always one of my favorite spots. Unfortunately the cloud coverage began to thicken and the wind picked up as well.
I waited at least for half an hour for the sun to reappear again and finally I got my shots.



Back at my campsite in Moab I decided to have a relaxing eveing.

Day 2

This morning I headed back to Canyonlands NP and decided to do some hiking. One of the less traveled tails were on my list for today and I parked at the Neck parking lot.
My warm up hike today was Neck Springs trail, which was a really nice and rewarding 6 mile trail. The trail followed the rim of Taylor Canyon for a while and then descented into the canyon.
I passed an impressive alcove and some old fence-like structures of former cattle farmers.



There were also some seeps in the canyon as some really interesting rock formations.



Finally I climbed back up to the mesa and at the end the trail passed Shafer Canyon Viewpoint, where I got a nice view into Shafer Canyon and the famous Shafer trail.


Back at the car I decided to do another hike and headed to Aztec Butte trailhead. The first half mile was a little bit sandy and covered in Prickley pear cacti in bloom as well as soom nice blooming California Buckwheat.


Very soon the trail gradually gained elevation and at the end it was getting really steep. There was also some scrambling involved at the end and the gusty wind with up to 45mph made things really bad. :eek:



I sometimes had to be really careful otherwise one of the gusts could've blown me down.
Beside the tricky climb the hike was very rewarding and the views toward Trail Canyon were fanatastic.


Because of the gusty wind I only visited the granary on top of Aztec Butte and skipped the other ones on the exposed ledges. Hopefully next time.
I decided to spent sunset at Dead Horse Point SP, but the weather was worsen again and the sky was covered with a thick cloud cover.


Anyway, it was nice to stroll along the rim along Dead Horse Point and now and them the views were realy spectacular.


Day 3:

Today I decided to hike Devisl Garden trail again. I haven't done it for quite a while. Big mistake to do this in mid June, because it was almost impossible to get a parking spot. After cruising for a while I finally found a spot for my truck and started the hike. I felt like being on a procession, because there were hundreds of hikers beside me. Most of them definitely won't get far, especially when looking at them with flipflops and a 16oz bottle of water. Not the best idea in 95 degree warm weather. :rolleyes:


I passed tons of out of shape visitors who where blowing like whales on their overwhelming long hike to Pinetree Arch and Tunnel Arch. Some of them made it to Landscape Arch, but after that I was basically alone and only passed a few other hikers.


Eventually I made it to Double O Arch, where I climbed through the lower part of it and rested in the shadow next to the arch. On top of the arch where some jerks from Germany or some of the German-speaking countries. The yelled in German to someone who should take pictures of them jumping on top of the arch. I was really pissed, because they were yelling all the time and because it is not allowed in Arches NP to climb on top of any Arches. :mad:


I made my way to Dark Angle Spire and from there via primitive trail back to the trailhead.



I decided to stop at some of the viewpoints again, but the weather again began to worsen and thunderstorms were popping up in the sky. But the dramatic sky looked great and I decided to stay as long as possible.
I stopped at the windows section and made my way to Double Arch, while lightning danced through the sky and thunder rolled.


I also had some nice dramatic looking skies at Balanced Rock and finally the sun appeared again for a few minutes.



Actually I hoped for a nice sunset, but it never happened.And this evening I couldn't wait because I met friends of mine from Germany. We had a nice evening in Moab.


Day 4

Today I hiked Syncline Loop which was really cool and was on my bucket list for quite a while.
I decided to to the hike counter clockwise and at the end I was glad to do so. The hike had some nice scrambling sections and because I'm short legged it was easier for me to scramble down
instead of climbing up.


The landscape was esciting and changed within minutes. There were also some seeps and water holes in Syncline Valley and at the end with the final climb back to he mesa I was rewarded with nice views and now and then I could catch a glimpse of the Green River in the distance.




the scramble down


After the hike I was toasted, because it was 103F at the canyon bottom. But the hike was worth every mile.
At night I met my friends again for dinner, but decided to leave a little bit earlier, so I could head back to Arches NP.
I decided to hike to Delicate Arch tonite. Funny decision, but it was full moon and I haven't been at Delicate Arch for almost 2 years.
I didn't use any lights, the moon was bright enough.
It was a little bit weird to head to the arch in the middle of the night, but the biggest surprise came when I reached the Arch.
I wasn't alone because a group of college kids decided to celebrate the full moon under the arch with some heavy drinking and smoking pot. I could even smell it from where I was sitting.
I waited a while, but there was definitely no chance to get any shots without them.


So I headed to the Windows section instead and after the clouds gave way to a bright sky with only some whispy clouds, I could take tons of pictures. Really cool, it almost looked like day light.


Finally at 2 am I went back and had a little bit of sleep.
The next morning I left Moab after breakfast with my friends and headed down south to the Needles District.
But that again is a different story....

Featured image for slideshow:
Great trip report Yvonne! I love the Arches/Moab area. You took some really nice pictures.
Beautiful pics Yvonne! You're one tough chick hiking all those trails in the summer.:p

actually I'm not having any problems with the heat as long as it is a dry heat like in the Southwest.
Here in Western New York I would die with 90+ F temps.
And usually it's not that hot in June. Last year was a little bit extreme.
Extremely hot and extremely windy and all that damn weather that shouldn't be there in June :(
Arches and Canyonlands , June 2011

Wow - I'd Like that post 100x if I could. Awesome photos, and particularily love the Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch photos. What I'd do for some clouds when I'm out at Arches next time! Great trip report!!
Love the Canyonlands overlook pics. Love the color.....
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