We decided to repeat hike the longest (and best) trail in the park: the Devil's Garden/Primitive Trail loop. It's a little over seven miles and took us down into and on top of the sandstone fins and among several arches. Starting out early in the morning the Primitive half of the loop was devoid of people, our return through Devil's Garden was just the opposite. Oddly, when we visited in late April 2007 we saw only a handful of people on the entire loop!
First a few photos from the road to Devil's Garden...
|You never know what you'll see when you look through an arch!|
|I love to imagine the eons of time these colorful layers of stone represent.|
|Uh oh! This wall has been compromised!|
And now we'll take a hike along the Primitive side of Devil's Garden...
|The trail heads into these sandstone fins.|
|It's a glorious day and no other people in sight yet!|
|Hans is on the trail, there are several places where we must scale the fins.|
|The cairn marks the trail...|
|We hike up a few fins to check out the views off the trail.|
Looks like clay pots atop this one!
|Peering into the abyss!|
|This is the point where we met up with the main Devil's Garden trail.|
Though you can't see them, there are at least 20 people standing near Double O Arches
|The Primitive Trail took us through these opposing rows of fins.|
|We're walking on a white fin.|
|There are two arches here at Partition Arch, see the guy beyond Hans; he is in the second opening.|
|It's the narrow sections with obstacles that cause bottlenecks.|
Not our favorite kind of hiking...fortunately this was an extreme example, not constant!
On our second visit to Arches we hiked the Sand Dune/Broken/Tapestry Arch Loop as a prelude to a trip into the Fiery Furnace.
|Sand Dune Arch|
|Tapestry Arch in shadow.|
The Fiery Furnace is a natural labyrinth among sandstone walls and access is limited to 100 persons per day. There are three options for entering the Fiery Furnace: take a ranger led hike for $16, obtain a personal permit for $6, or take a tour with a private company for $89 (at least one company charges this rate).
Being low budget travelers who like to travel at their own pace, we chose the personal permit. We had to watch a short video detailing the rules for Fiery Furnace with a brief quiz afterwards by the ranger before we were issued the coveted permits. Basically you can only walk on slick rock or in washes to preserve this delicate environment.
There are many dead ends in the labyrinth so steps are retraced often and it can be easy to get disoriented. There are no trails or markers of any kind so it's important to carefully observe your surroundings so you can find your way out.
We were told not to follow groups, that we should respect each others space...but we think the main reason is that some people are paying a lot of money for their tour so it's not fair to just tag along if you haven't paid for the talk!
|Towering sandstone provides welcome shade...this is a great place to explore on a warm day!|
|Fiery Furnace from across the valley, it's about a square mile of sandstone fun!|
More Moab coming up...!