Tags

Related Posts

Share This

Fresh Coke at the Double-O

Dusk dripped its way down the horizon on the heels of the sun while we ate dinner at Arch View RV Resort which is outside Moab, Utah. We were inside doing dishes and getting ready to plan our tomorrow, our first day at Arches National Park, but we’d left our Fodor’s Guide of the National Parks of the West book in the car. I opened the door of the RV, took one step down and out of the corner of my eye, through the screened oval window I saw it, a huge amber glow in the sky.

Now the power of the written word is that I can force you to enter slow motion with me while I drag out the next eight-tenths of a second. What an incredible moon I thought as I brought my other foot down to the next step and started to turn to face it full on. Nearly full and putting off an amazing red aura around its edges, it seemed so close that I imagined it sitting on the ledge of the mountain that was just across the highway from our campsite. I sucked in a breath, focused my gaze and opened my mouth to call out to Allison, when my brain finally connected with my eyes. It wasn’t the moon, it was a big lit-up shell on a tall pole, the sign for the Shell gasoline station that was a couple hundred yards away at the entrance to our RV park. Ali got a huge laugh out of that one.

I guess after spending weeks in national parks, hiking, biking, driving through wilderness, seeing amazing natural beauty every day, my mind’s first instinct was to attribute that beautiful glow to something natural. Oh well, the warm yellow shell with its red outline WAS beautiful in that moment – a sign that I, Lin Petrucci, have shifted. I’m sporting a new paradigm, with new expectations of life and the world around me. I’ve traded my tired jaded eyes for an innocent pair. Baby eyes, mind ready for wonder.

What better assets to have on board for a trip into Arches National Park, where rock cliffs have taken on fairytale shapes.

A view of the Windows Arches from the road.

A view of the Windows Arches from the road.

For our first day we aimed our bodies at Landscape Arch and Double-O, a 4 mile round trip hike up into the rock formation range at the top of the park, but there were many miles to drive and lots to see between the entrance and the trail head to Double-O. We took a few breaks at the pull-outs along the way, stopped at Balanced Rock and then detoured ourselves out to the Delicate Arch Overlooks.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

Very cool wood textures.

Very cool wood textures.

Knowing that we planned to hike to Delicate Arch the following night at sunset, we wanted to get a sense of the thing. There’s a lower overlook – flat short trail, not for us – and then an upper overlook, straight up a curvy hill and then out along a plate of solid rock that has tilted its way up out of the earth at a fifty degree angle. We climbed and climbed until we had the best view of the ant-sized people crawling across an expanse of orange rock, queuing up to stand for a photo in the center of what looked like the eye of a needle to us from our distant perch.

The tilty rock trail.

The tilty rock trail.

Delicate Arch and the ant-people

Delicate Arch and the ant-people

Getting really tired of baseball hat photos - attempted down hair photo with valley view behind

Really sick of baseball hat photos – attempted hair down photo with valley view behind

With all that warm up under our belts, we got back in the car and ate our lunch while we drove another 10 miles out past the Fiery Furnace formation and around a big corner to enter the very full parking area at Devil’s Garden and the trail head for Double-O. We drove slowly around the big outer curve of the lot and chanted our little mantra, “parking karma”, being sure to roll our “R”s elaborately. (This is a charm that Allison has developed over her years of living in big cities like Boston and San Francisco where parking is scarce and under high competition.) After only 3 chants, just as we were nearing the restrooms and information signs, a spot right in front opened up. We’ve come to learn that this closeness of the car, even if it’s only a quarter mile gained, is enormously important when you’re dealing with a set of over-worked, wobbly legs. Often you’ve already had to negotiate heavily with them just to get through the last part of the trail, so they’re apt to bust out with, “No way dude! You didn’t say anything about the parking lot. We’re done!” if your car is too far away.

Heading out, baseball hat on, camel back loaded, busy trail

Heading out, baseball hat on, camel back loaded, busy trail

Landscape Arch - the longest arch in the park

Landscape Arch – the longest arch in the park

Early in the trail was Landscape Arch, which is one of the most popular ones, and a lot of people turned back here, but about a fifth of the hikers continued on up into the rocks and made their way with Ali and I to Double-O. Alex and Deb had recommended this trail highly, warning that it was long, but worth it, so we were mentally prepared for the trek. It was a hot day, no clouds, very little shade, and the trail offered several scrambles and long climbs up steep rock faces, but any time we felt challenged we would just say proudly, “This is nothing like Angel’s Landing!”

IMG_0628

IMG_0629

IMG_0631

IMG_4452

At about the halfway point we reached the “top” or the high point in the trail and then spent the next half mile or so walking across a flat but narrow ledge of rock, enjoying an incredible view of the Moab valley. Then the trail bent back into a sandy, treed, curved stretch that took us around a peak and by then we were getting a bit worn, noses were dripping and the water in the camel back was warm from my body heat. We smiled really big at a couple as they headed toward us on the trail. The woman offered us a “Not far to go” with a German accent, which we received with even bigger grins and loudly exhaled “yays”. Then her husband added, “They have fresh coke there.” Which made us all laugh, because fresh coke is just plain funny.

Soon after we’d passed them, the trail led us to another hard rock ledge that sloped downward very steeply, but we needed to traverse it around a corner, so we engaged our spider man feet and ankles and slowly picked our way across. As we rounded the bend we saw several people standing on another long slope of rock, it was like a huge nose jutting out of some crazy big rock face. They were kind of milling about, waiting for friends or just looking at the pretty surroundings, so we guessed that this was the end of the trail as we joined them and started looking for the Double-O arch. We spent a few seconds looking out in the wrong direction and saw something that looked like an arch in the distance, our hearts sinking a bit, feeling let down, but then we turned to look behind us, up the nose, and there it was. “OH!” we both said loudly, as we spied the Double-O and laughed.

Looking up the nose

Looking up the nose

Amazing pair of arches - the Double-O

Amazing pair of arches – the Double-O

Ali caught this bird as it flew through the gap

Ali caught this bird as it flew through the gap

We jogged down the rest of the nose and headed back into the small canyon and climbed all around the magnificent arches. It was the perfect reward for all that hard hiking, even it there wasn’t any fresh coke.