Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Across the U.S.: Day 8

by Kathy 19. June 2009 21:15

<< Day 7: Salt Lake City To Moab | Day 9: Moab to Silverton >>



Our RV spot overlooks a large field in the back of a school. I was awakened at 6:13 this morning to a woman’s voice yelling, “Go, go, go, go, go!” She was up early for baseball practice with several youngsters. The loud encouraging noises persisted, so more sleep was not an option. We had to get up early this morning anyway, as we were to be picked up at 8:00 for a tour of Arches National Park.

Right on time, Matthew Driskell of Canyon View Tours arrived with our van.

I could not imagine a more perfect guide than Matthew—he was extremely knowledgeable, very patient, highly professional, and an all-around wonderful person.

On the way to Arches National Park (which was just a few miles down the road), we passed a restaurant on the hill.

The building was the former home of a prospector, Charlie Steen, who discovered uranium in Moab in 1952.

The Colorado River flows through a portal that bisects the Moab Rim. The Moab valley floor has a long faultline that runs through it, so one side of the rim is 1800 feet higher than the other.

The weather was sunny today, and not too hot. The rain is welcomed in Moab, which only gets about 9 inches of precipitation each year (most of that is snow).

Up on the hill, we could see some pilings from the uranium mines. The pilings are highly toxic and are currently being removed by train to a place 30 miles east, where the rock is supposedly impervious to seeping contaminants.

Each layer of rock that we could see revealed a different geographical time. The oldest strata of rock sits across from the visitor’s center at the Park. The layers show the ancient sea deposits.

The slick rock, which we loved so much on last night’s Hummer tour, represented an ancient desert.

The red in the rocks comes from iron oxide. The black substance on the rocks is manganese.

This is what I remember about how the Moab valley was formed: The land around Moab used to be covered by ocean seas. As the arctic glaciers melted and froze over thousands and thousands of years, this area was covered over by oceans 29 separate times. There eventually was a build-up of ocean salt that was one mile thick. As the surrounding mountains eroded, deposits of minerals, rocks and soil built up on top of the salt. The weight of these deposits squeezed the salt west until it reached a faultline. The salt, with the deposits on top, was then pushed upward into a long peak. Acidic water then entered through cracks in the deposits, eroding away the underlying salts. The long peak eventually collapsed into a valley.

Salt Valley, shown below, was formed in the same way—you can see the rock formation known as “Devil’s Garden” in the far distance:

The park provided a pictorial explanation of the process:

During the erosion process, over thousands of years, giant fins of rock were left standing.

Because of the salt, these fins would sometimes erode from the bottom, creating numerous arches throughout this area of land.

Driving up from the visitor’s center, we saw the rock formation known as “Three Penguins”.

This rock looked precariously balanced (and resembled the Egyptian queen Nefertiti):

We stopped for a short walk at “Park Avenue,” which was named because someone thought the view looked like the buildings along Park Avenue in New York. The “buildings” behind Genevieve’s head are giant fins.

Other rock formations also had “call it like you see it” names:

The Three Gossips:

The Organ (which was one of the Courthouse Towers and was very thin):

The Sheep Rock:

Balanced Rock (which seemed to morph into different shapes as we hiked around it and gained different perspectives):

Hand (or Glove) Rock:

Fiery Furnace:

The Mitten, on the left, with the tiny Hambone on the top right:

A better view of the Hambone:

The white rock mounds that we could see were formerly part of the largest desert ever known, four times the size of the Sahara Desert, which existed 200 million year ago.

The cross-stratification shown in the rocks was the result of winds blowing the sand in different direction over time.

Sebastian liked to point out the stripes in the rocks:

He was also excellent at spotting lizards. This one was camouflaged beautifully and blended into the rocks:

We took a short hike to the high overlook point for Delicate Arch.

This arch is the state symbol in Utah and is found on Utah license plates:

Genevieve and I hiked out ahead of the others. As we walked along, she held my hand (big sigh). She said, “I hike 10% to burn off calories, 30% to see the sights, and 60% to be with my mommy.” My heart did a little song and dance, and I held her hand tighter.

Just to give perspective, here is a photo of the rise upon which Delicate Arch sits. Looking at the small group of “pokies” sticking out of the rise, the Delicate Arch is the sixth protrusion from the right, dropped slightly lower than the others.

The green soil is volcanic ash from eruptions of the Sierra Nevada volcanoes in California thousands of years ago.

Matthew knew the name of every plant we saw. Here are some photos of the abundant plant life in the desert:

The evening primrose, which has white flowers that turn pink when pollinated:

Cheat grass, an invasive grass from China that fills in the spaces between desert plants and causes wildfires to spread:

Shinnery oak:

Single leaf ash:

Loco weed, which detrimentally affects horses that eat it:

Heron’s bill:

Pepperweed, which tastes like horseradish (Ben, Genevieve and Sebastian tested this out and found it to be true):

Dock (an unusual desert plant, with its broad leaves):

Piñon pine (which gave off a wonderful scent):

Mormon tea (a medicinal plant that has a bitter taste):

Bee plant:

Yucca plant (the petals and leaves are edible, the tall spiky growth can be used to start a fire, other parts can make a needle and thread, the leaf fibers can make sandals and other things, and the roots make shampoo):

Whew! I never knew that the desert was so full of life! (And those were just SOME of the plants that we saw.)

We visited Wolfe Ranch, which was settled by John Wolfe and his son in the late 1800’s. Genevieve scoured the informational plaque for answers to the Jr. Ranger crossword puzzle.

John Wolfe’s daughter Flora, along with her husband and children, came to live with him in 1906. Flora was so appalled by the primitive living conditions that she insisted he build this cabin with wood floors. In 1910, they all moved back to Ohio.

Another handy tip that we got from Matthew: If you are ever lost in the wilderness and need water, look for animal tracks that come together to form one single track. If you are following a track and it breaks off into two or more tracks, then you are most likely heading away from the water.

More views of the beauty that surrounded us:

Here is the North Window:

We hiked up to the Double Arch. One of the arches is 112 feet high, the tallest arch in the Park. Here is the Double Arch from a distance:

And up close:

Family photos:

Genevieve and Sebastian searched for nooks and crannies to crawl into.

Another rock grouping nearby:

Sebastian showed us a flipping dance move:

One of the most important things that the children learned at the park was to stay on the marked trails; the catchy phrase for this was “Don’t bust the crust.” On top of the fragile desert soil is a layer of cryptobiotic crust that actually holds the soil in place and protects the plants.

When people walk on the surface of the crust, it breaks down, and the soil eventually blows away. Huge hummocks (hills of soil) have completely disappeared because people have walked on the crust and destroyed it.

Genevieve and Sebastian were fascinated by this ant that was carrying a large grass blade:

On the way out of the park, we passed by the Garden of Eden:

One last photo of the red rocks:

Genevieve and Sebastian worked very hard to find the answers to questions in their Jr. Ranger booklets. Back at the visitor’s center, Sebastian filled in the last bit of required information.

Ranger Stephanie checked their answers and quizzed them on various parts. She then swore the children in as official junior rangers, and presented them with their new badges. We were very proud.

Later in the afternoon, the children and Ben went to the pool, while I had some quiet time in the laundry room.

We had dinner at the Moab Brewery.

After dinner, we rode our bicycles along some terrific bike paths by a peaceful creek. The path had tunnels that went under a couple of streets:

At the end of the bike trail was a great park with a special area that had percussion instruments for children to play.

Ben helped Sebastian learn how to slide along on the hanging slider:

Then Sebastian practiced and practiced until he could jump up, grab the bar, and slide without any help:

Sweet Genevieve:

We all had enjoyed a fantastic time in Moab. We will definitely return to this little piece of paradise.

<< Day 7: Salt Lake City To Moab | Day 9: Moab to Silverton >>

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Comments (2) -

7/8/2011 2:05:30 AM #

Colin Wild

Great photo`s of Arches. We were there June 2011 and temperatures were in the nineties. Love this place our second visit

Colin Wild United Kingdom | Reply

7/8/2011 12:50:46 PM #


We share your love of this place, Colin! The beautiful red rocks, and amazing arches, definitely have a pull that will keep us coming back too. Thanks for your comments!  Kathy

Kathy United States | Reply

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin