After our hike at Delicate Arch, we drove to the far end of the park to see what else there was to see. We knew since we’d arrived at noon, we’d have to come back the next morning to do all we wanted to do. At the end, we stopped at Skyline Arch, walking about a half mile round trip.
Arches often form slowly, but quick and dramatic changes do occur. In 1940, a large boulder suddenly fell out of Skyline Arch, roughly doubling the size of the opening.
As we had to get to the Visitor’s Center for my cancellation stamp by 5:00, we made a quick stop at Fiery Furnace Viewpoint. Mike was disappointed that I wouldn’t do the Fiery Furnace Trail with him. To enter this area, you must accompany a ranger-guided hike or obtain a day-use permit at the visitor center. The Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons that requires agility to explore. You must climb through narrow passages and it is easy to get lost.
We stopped to admire the rock formations and the view of the La Sal Mountains.
Named for the warm glow seen on the rocks in the late afternoon, the Fiery Furnace is actually a maze of cool, shady canyons between towering sandstone walls. The chaos of fins, spires and canyons has been called “void, silent – and almost uncanny in its solitude.”
The many vertical rock walls – or fins – you see here and in the Devils Garden are the result of movement, eons ago, far beneath the earth’s surface. Over time, erosion has been shaping the Fiery Furnace. Rain, snow and ice deepened and widened the cracks, creating these towering fins.
At the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint, we saw Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Tower of Babel, the Organ, and other monoliths.
In another direction, we could see the Courthouse Wash Canyon, the Colorado River Canyon, La Sal Mountains and the Moab Valley.
We drove hurriedly down the switchbacks into the Moab Valley to the Visitor’s Center, where I got my cancellation stamp in the nick of time. Then we drove back up the switchbacks to The Park Avenue Trail.
The Park Avenue Trail is a moderate hike along a canyon floor, offering close-up views of massive fins, balanced rocks, and lofty monoliths. We descended 320 feet down into the canyon. It’s recommended that you walk one mile to Courthouse Towers and have a driver pick you up and return you to the trailhead, but we walked 2.11 miles round trip because we had no such chauffeur available.
On our Park Avenue walk, we were amazed by the looming fins, the balanced rocks, the cairns, the brittlebrush, yucca, yellow monkeyflower and Prince’s Plume, as well as the swirls of color on the rocks in the wash.
Today, between our hikes at Balanced Rock, Delicate Arch, Park Avenue, and various viewpoints, we walked 19,498 steps, or 8.26 miles. What a good way to get me in shape for the Camino! 🙂
*Tuesday, May 8, 2018*
On Sundays, I plan to post various walks that I took on our Four Corners trip as well as hikes I take locally while training for the Camino de Santiago; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.
This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk: Elvaston Castle Country Park.