My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Friday, May 22, 2015

My Hike to Mesa Arch

The Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park is less than thirty miles from Arches National Park.  Most of the natural arches are found in Arches, but Canyonlands has a few arches also.  One of them is Mesa Arch which frames a beautiful view and is supposed to be spectacular at sunrise, when the sun lights the underside of the arch and makes it a bright orange.

I didn't get there until nearly midday, but I enjoyed both the hike and the arch anyway.  It is only a half mile round trip to visit the arch so it did have lots of people on it, always a negative for me. And it made it almost impossible to get a decent shot through the arch since everyone needed to have their picture taken just where I needed to stand. But this was the only time the park felt crowded - the rest of the time I was either by myself or with less than ten people. So this is definitely a trail you should hike very early or late. There will always be a small group of people waiting for the sun to light the "ceiling" of the arch, even when the sun rises at 5:00 A.M.

This was across the road from the parking lot

This vetch was very common but made a lovely composition along the trail

These rocks almost looked like piles of cookie dough to me

Another beautiful feature seen from the trail

A trail view of a rock formation I took from several different locations. 

Some large lubines made a beautiful color combination with the orange soil

Different layers of rock are colored differently

Mesa Arch

The view through Mesa Arch - not the best time of the day for pictures

This tree spoke to me and I took several perspectives of it

This structure was on the way to Mesa Arch but I climbed after I got there
and found a better perspective of it

Structures seen on the way back

The day kept getting more cloudy and I was afraid the predicted rain would soon come

A clearer part of the sky let me get this lovely picture

Soon I was at the last set of steps before the parking lot

Then I went back to my campsite and finished packing.  This is Horsethief Camp, a BLM campsite with 57 sites.  I got one of the last three sites when I got there at 3:00 P. M. on Thursday.  This is one of the few cheap places to stay - $15 a night or $7.50 per night with a senior pass - and is less than 30 minutes from Canyonlands, Arches, and Dead Horse Point State Park plus other hiking and biking trails, so it is very popular.

My camp

I went to the library in Moab for a while and edited pictures and looked at e-mail and Facebook before heading out, STILL without rain.  But within the hour I got into showers and one little mixed rain and snow shower.  I also had to ride behind a snowplow for a while, although it was not yet clearing the road. But I did enjoy a shower and a real comfortable bed in a motel just south of Salt Lake City.  And I had time the next morning to visit Antelope Island State Park in Salt Lake before arriving at Red Rock Lakes NWR.   I'll tell you about that next blog.  

Since I'm getting further and further ahead on adventures, I thought I'd throw in couple of extra blogs over the next few weeks and try to get closer to catching up. I photographed twin yearling moose today and a badger yesterday as well as MANY pictures of birds, and the scenery. 

I also added my Facebook page, since I often post pictures that really don't fit into blogs there. See it to the right of the blog.