Arches National Park
It's a popular park. North of Moab, Utah, and just like visiting Mars. With all the tourists who go to Mars.
We stayed in the campground. I like national park campgrounds for the most part—no electricity or water hook ups so it tends to be chill, not wall to wall RVs. I like the Smokies, Glacier, Yellowstone, Yosemite—all good campgrounds. The view I had of Rocky Mountains' campground looked like a good place too.
Arches was similar in that there was no electric and no showers—there were flush toilets and water available—but it was not the same, because the place was teeming with loud people. It was strange. We didn't get to sleep the first night right away—it had been a long day in the car and there was dinner to make and stuff to set up. So I didn't notice the people so much. It was the next night, when we were exhausted from hiking, that I realized that, whoa, you people are obnoxious. There was a youth group staying nearby, sharing the bathroom, and they were grungy youth who obviously had never had to clean their own bathrooms...
But before you think it was a terrible experience, it wasn't! We woke up in the park, cold in the desert, to a tiny coyote sniffing around the campsites. I was glad to be sleeping off the ground in the camper (we borrow my parents' pop up trailer for these trips now). We got an early start on a long hike in the desert—I wanted to be done by lunch time. We were done by 10:30.
We saw arches I had never seen before, out in the Devil's Garden area of the park. And we were mostly alone. My favorite. They were beautiful and I couldn't get enough of them. I will post pictures in a post when I get home—I have terrible wifi at the campgrounds this trip. Navajo Arch was private and shady; Partition Arch felt like we were on top of the world.
We went to lunch in Moab. Had shakes. It was good. Came back and realized that the tourists had arrived on Mars and we were caught in the mob of giant buses and Germans on Harleys and the whole bit. But that was ok, too. We saw a few more things and then decided to go out of the park and look at petroglyphs.
We found TV Sheep and Intestine Man a few miles outside of the park, following vague directions I had found online. I am now in love with TV Sheep (they look like old fashioned TV sets, big boxy things). Brooklyn is now in love with petroglyphs. “I like archeology far more than geology.”
We went back to the hot, hot park and got dinner together. Bixby and I took one more hike, a scramble out to Broken Arch as the sun set. It was empty again, all the tourists heading on to other parks and sights to see.
I lay awake a long time in the camper listening to the people nearby be loud. But I had the bed to myself because Bixby figured out a way to rig up the hammocks, and he and Brooklyn each took one so everyone could spread out. Which was good because we ALL STANK SO BAD. Because no showers. And dirty bathrooms. And I couldn't even stand being near myself, much less near anyone else.
In the morning, Niles got his junior ranger badge and we headed out, onward to Capitol Reef. I was glad we'd gone to Arches, a place I had visited for the first time 10 years ago. But I was done. Onward.