Surprising winter fun in Fiery Furnace

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Titans

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Imagine.... A giant slick rock maze full of dead-ends, big obstacles, sheer walls, exposed cliff edges and narrow passage ways. Then try to find your way through the maze and try not to get lost. Well, you will get lost and have to backtrack. But that's part of the fun. We got some permits and headed into the maze yesterday morning.

Here is Rick on his way. The wind was cold, we were bundled up already:

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Quickly we were distracted and walked up an old trail to check things out:
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How do you find your way through the maze? You follow these infrequent, but well placed miniscule signs. None are as obvious as this one:
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And most important, we had to be very careful about all the dead-ends in the maze. Luckily the park placed signs to warn people, so you avoid walking too far. I wondered if @Rockskipper used to work here ?
Somewhat further we encountered more cool stuff. Here is Rick in a nice cave.
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Here I am in front of the Turtle bridge
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And Rick is looking at the crawl through arch.... We once did some underwater caves in Yucatan, but I'm not really into it:
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There is always light at the end of the tunnel:
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Here is the first narrow passageway. I was thinking it was more narrow than last year! Packs had to come off
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Then some cool sand dunes in an open area:
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And we missed this cool place the first time last year..... Sheer walls, lots of small side canyons.
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Skull Arch, very impressive. Prettier with blue skies, but we noticed so much more with the flat light:
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We ended up in a canyon where the canyoneers come down. Impressive sheer walls:
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More impressive with the right lens:
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There was even some water!
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Another cool little side canyon with another arch:
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This climb down went better last year..., but I got down. My right big toe doesn't like any bending or my old Turf Toe injury will flare up.
Don't think only football players get turf toe. I played racket ball in wrong shoes....got advice from a well known sporting good store about what shoes to buy.... It's a pesky injury, it never goes away.
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But Rick can bend and dig in his toes without getting issues. There is one of those big arrows to the left of his shoe:
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Here is the view back- incredible formations:
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Here was the first real challenge. You could jump, but that might not end well. Last year we scooted down on the butt, but the coats got all red and it never came out after washing them. So this time Rick tested the stickiness of his Merrel soles:
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A bit further and we hadn't seen an arrow in a while.... Could it be that way ? Last year I was speechless when we got to the end of those obstacles.
I was thinking, what????? They can't be serious.
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There are many ways to get from a to b and we have lots of fun animations from last year and this year. Our friend's son gave Rick the nickname Spider-Man. He was thrilled and said he absolutely wanted to climb over those rocks! Some of our friends watched the animations too and said it was an ER visit waiting to happen.....
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Luckily we didn't get injured this year either. Later we explored this open space and some fins.
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Rick is standing to the bottom right- so you can see the scale:
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Here I'm pointing to on of the big arrows. Last year we got some awesome sun burst photos at this spot:
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A poor iPhone of the Balanced Rock far away... The view was stunning from here:
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Was Rick on trail? Off trail ? I have no idea, but it was very pretty!
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Last year we helped a young couple from Colorado find their way through here. The sun lit up the rock and it was impossible to see the sign.
What sign? The one in the picture..... Can't you see it? That's why Fiery Furnace is fun. You will get lost at some point.
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This location is crazy.... Drop offs, narrow passageways.... Where do you go? Rick is pointing to the direction. Kind of....
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Last year I almost shit my pants at that spot.... What a difference a year can make. I'm doing better with the drop offs. At least until we went on Shafer rd a few days ago...... But at least I could stand still and look down at this spot.
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Here is some cool tafoni and a fun story. A week ago our friends son Felipe saw a picture from last year of me looking back to Rick while I was straddling over the crack like Rick was doing in below picture. Felipe said: I remember that picture! You looked so much younger, he said. I said, hm.... What do you mean? He said, you had much less wrinkles than now. Really? I said, that was just one year ago, are you sure? Yes! Definitely.... Then suddenly he realized he was on a slippery slope with that statement. Kids have no filter- he is very funny.

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It's hard to imagine we just came through that narrow passageway. Packs had to come of:
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On trail? Off trail? Who knows.... Views are amazing.
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Here is another big arrow:
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Here is Rick on his way to a surprising arch. @Rockskipper already posted a fun story ;)
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And here I am at the bottom left hiking into an open area at the end. Impressive formations....
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Rick inspected big boulder
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Here are some more photos from outside of the maze:
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The sky was not really that blue- but I love the fish eye lens view
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That was a fun day! I was wondering how many of you have been to the fiery furnace? @Ugly and @slc_dan were there I heard.
It's very challenging to make a TR on an old iPad while traveling, so I'm going to hit the submit before it all vanishes. Hope you enjoyed it.
 

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Joined
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#2
Some fantastic photos!

Explored it many moons ago with a parkie friend. Have friends who wrote the guidebook to Mexican Food Bus Arch. :rolleyes2:

Your TR brought back some great memories. IIRC I was too chicken for some of the spots. You guys would love Fin Canyon.
 

Jazzy Joe

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#3
I absolutely love that pothole photo with all the leaves. Looks awesome. I have been to arches so many times but I have never tried the furnace for fear of getting lost. I have to do it someday!
 

b.stark

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#5
Hope to get in that particular maze someday. Looks like a neat place.
 
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#6
Lot's of nice photos there, but my fave is also the leafy pothole. I'd be putting that on the wall in my home gallery.
Your report takes me back to October 2003- our first Utah trip. As newbies to the desert environment-we signed up for the ranger guided tour of Fiery Furnace. That, and the rest of our week in Arches, sparked our ongoing love for the Colorado Plateau. I recall walking into the visitor centre in the morning, and simply signing on to the tour, just like that. I'm sure that it is much more difficult now to get a permit, unless in the "off" season.
 

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