Friday, October 2, 2015

Moab Day 6 Island in the Sky

We have been pushing this day forward for a few days waiting for a favourable (cooler) forecast and that day finally came.  We left home early to arrive early at Mesa Arch in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands.  The plan was to watch the sun rise.  After that, we would enjoy breakfast and then hike the Alcove Springs Trail.

We arrived at Mesa Arch parking lot to see only a few other cars.  I was O.K. with this, I did not want a coveted spot at the Arch but I hoped there would be some vacant space. We hiked the kilometer in the dark and upon arrival, I told my friends how it worked and what the lay of the land was. They maneuvered in and got their coveted spots.  I stayed to the right this time.

                                                  the sun begins rising
                                         the underside of Mesa Arch as the sun rises
We stayed a little while to get a few photos from different vantage points then decided it was time to carry on with our day.  I took one last look back from up along the trail to see a few folks still savouring the scene.
Then there was no more looking back, only forward.  Then I saw our shadows and thought of sun and heat.  But today would be cooler!  We made our way back to the car, it was feeling warm so layered down, then had breakfast.
We reached the Alcove Springs Trail parking lot.  It felt cool enough that I did not bother zipping the bottoms of my pants off.  We climbed down, then down, I am wondering, then down some more, It feels hot....
.....I am thinking, even more down, it feels hotter, down some more, I begin to worry, then I make my declaration!  This reminded me of going down into the Grand Canyon.
It was getting hotter the further down we went and I was concerned with it reaching 100 degrees F and climbing back out in those temperatures.  For me, safety always comes first and I needed to play safe so decided I would not be carrying on with this hike. We were not even at the bottom yet, but this was my turn around point.  The others were OK with this, so our climb back up began.
Back at the car, we revisited how we would attack today and agreed upon hiking a few shorter overlooks.  The first then would be the two overlooks at Upheaval Dome.  As it turned out we were able to hike up to 5 kms of ground cover on each hike so our total for the day did tally to high. This was the view from the first Overlook.
                                     our group shot at Upheaval Dome Overlook
                                     view from the second Overlook
Going beyond the second Overlook offered fun route finding and scrambling along on slick rock.  We thoroughly covered lots of area here then began the hike back.
Another overlook where we could get some distance would be the Murphy Overlook.  The trail head is the same as that for the Murphy Hogback Loop which I did back in the day but you stay straight after a short distance of hiking.
                                              view along the way
                                       just before the main overlook area
After reaching the Murphy Overlook, we explored a bit to find an area not so windy where I could safely set up my tripod.  This is our group shot, sitting safely from those wind gusts.  We snacked then began the hike back.
Visiting the Grand View Point at the end of the road was next.  This was another overlook where we could pack on a few more kilometres.  Large cairns showed us the way.  We had grand views far below and beyond.
                                                 view along the way
                                                              at the end
It was crazy windy by now but I was fine with that. It kept the temperature at a decent digit which made for enjoyably being out and about.  Beside this boulder section was a lovely shaded spot, we made it our place to dine so settled down for a visit.  Then it was time to hit the trail for one last look out before heading home.
That one last overlook was the Shafer Overlook just off the side of the road, so no hiking necessary.  If you look closely in the shade on the bottom left, you will see the vehicle we watched slowly maneuver along.         
We put our experience to work today and found a way to save the day.  I enjoyed seeing the many different sights.  We still worked our way up to just under 20 kms of hiking.  


1 comment:

  1. Nice sunrise shot! Utah is so beautiful. I'm going there in 2 weeks and can't wait!


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