The second half of our second walk on our second day in Arches National Park, this IS a graphics heavy post.
Once Man and I turn the corner and enter the Primitive Loop Trail we enter another world, so to speak. On the first part of our hike we see a lot of visitors enjoying their walks and especially the North Window. But turn the corner and almost magically, the hiking trail is pretty much abandoned, just Man and me, our hiking sticks, water, a little snack or two, Sony, abundant beauty and quiet! During the rest of our hike we will encounter less than 20 other visitors. It will take us approximately 40 minutes to finish hiking the Primitive Loop Trail.
Below: The first thing we see when we round the corner is:
Below: Further down the trail we get a great view of both the South (on the left) and the North (on the right) Windows:
Below: As we hike along the view of the 2 windows changes, the perspective changes, I stop every 50 to 100 feet and gasp and shoot another photo with Sony. Nope, not gonna share ALL of them with you, but, since we were here to see the windows, I will share a few, including this panoramic. Note I am shooting into the sun, a little glare going on, but, I also caught a jet way up there, making his white puffy streaky tail in the beautiful blue sky.
Below: Here is another jet trail photo, and another visitor/camera bug:
Below: While you hike along, if you can take your eyes off the windows for a bit, and look the other way, you will see:
Below: One last look at the Windows before we continue our hike:
You may remember from the sign at the start of the hike they gave instructions if you hike the back section, the Primitive Loop, to follow the cairns. Sometimes you can find beauty and interest in the most, well, unusual places. See, here we have the cairn, a man-made pile of stones, or as otherwise described, a' heap of stones piled up as a memorial or as a landmark'. I must be easily amused or amazed, as I find it fascinating to study cairns, how do they get those small stones in there holding up larger stones above? Super glue?? Inquiring minds want to know, and no, I did not go wiggle the pile to find out! As they say, cool beans!
It is somewhere about now in our hike that Man made good use of that hiking stick (you might remember I mentioned this in yesterday's post) . We came to this, mmm, little rock, OK, not so little. And the cairns said we had to go right up it, straight up, like 6 to 10 feet. Man scrambled right up, but of course. Then, it was my turn, scramble NOT. I got up part of the way, feet planted, but could not figure out how I was going to, well, raise my sorry ole hiney up the rest of the way. I could not even climb up on my hands and knees. So, Man handed me one end of his hiking stick, and used said hiking stick to YANK me up that little ole rock. Success, and not even a scrape to show off said success. OK, I say to myself, that was not tooooo bad. And, on we hiked.
Well, you know that saying, what goes up, must come down. Ya, that saying! Well, the down was slippery, steep, narrow. Did I say narrow and steep and slippery?? Ya, I did. Again, Man, ahead of me, manages to descend rather gracefully. And, then, it was my turn. He offered the walking stick again, to steady me. Instead, I passed him the Sony and with my walking stick out in front of me, acting as a brake of sorts, I somehow, gracelessly (not gracefully) slid down the entire rock on my hiney. I was rather pleased with myself, I did not break anything, including my walking stick or my leg! I did not even rip my jeans. Still I had to wonder, was this the "hill" they had warned about on that sign?? See, there, in the second paragraph.
I don't really have a photo of all this excitement, as we were more worried about not getting hurt and getting up and down in one piece than we were in taking photos of the event, but, I think this is about the place in the trail that I slid home. That lady and her man were still above the really steep part of the trail. They were rather nimble, probably part mountain goat, as they had very little trouble getting down the steepest section, ahhhh, to be young again! Oh, and catch that scenery, not bad, eh??
Below: I cannot be too sure, but, I think this is the rock, err, boulder, err, BIG HUNK O STONE, that I slid down, looking from the bottom, up. I vaguely remember taking the camera back from Man and after a few steps, turning to take a photo, saying to him, "really need to have a shot of that ole rock I just slid down". If not, well, you get the idea. See, there is a cairn off to the left, sand at the bottom and that big tall
Below: After the ride down the boulder we continued along the trail, which soon turned very sandy, if the rocks don't tire you out, the sand will, but it sure is pretty, isn't it??
Well, there you have it, our hilly, slippery hike around the Windows. Personally, I really think they need to change that sign just a little, a little verbage about rock scaling would be somewhat helpful.
* Our hike around the North and South Windows at Arches National Park was done on April 28, 2011.
** We were not quite done with the day's visit at Arches, but we were done hiking for the day! LOL We will, however, return to Arches later on during our stay in Moab for another hike, an easy hike. Question is, easy in whose mind?? Had to be the mind of a teenager or 20 something.