I'd wanted to get an early start on my morning in Arches so I wasn't too disappointed when I woke up at 4 and couldn't get back to sleep, then the fridge cut off around 4:30 and I was awake for good! One nice thing about sleeping in a parking lot is you can leave whenever you want without worrying about disturbing anyone! I didn't want to drive into Arches in the dark so I got all ready to go and waited until almost 6 to leave.
The sun was just coming up as I was entering the park! It was a nice time to be there! I made it to the Delicate Arch Parking Area and was hiking by 6:45! I was not the first person to the trailhead either! This is a very popular hike!
It was only three miles to the arch and the trail went through all the desert highlights! It went across sand, open rock, even rock ledges before we finally came out at the arch! It was amazing! It was so big! There were only a few people there and I was able to get several pictures without any random strangers!
It was 7:40 when I was at the arch and on the way back I was like a salmon swimming upstream! There was a constant parade of people coming up and I was the only one coming down! I was back in the parking lot at 8:15 ready to explore the rest of the park.
I went to see the Arch Overlook, where you can view delicate arch without hiking. It was a mile away but it looked so tiny! And you could see all the people on the rock looking at it! So many people had gotten there, just since I'd left!
Next I went out to the Devil's Garden area. That area looked really neat, but it was a 7 mile hike to see it all so I only walked about a mile to landscape arch then turned around.
After that I drove out to the windows area of the park. This is where the crowds caught up with me! I hadn't had any trouble with parking until I got to Windows, there was no place to park! I found an only slightly illegal place to pull off and walked back to a view.
Since the park was filling up and I still needed to drive 250 miles today I headed down the hill to the visitor center to get my passport stamped and head up the road.
I-70 through Colorado is the most scenic most amazing section of interstate and I was very excited to get there! But first I had about 70 miles of Utah desert. Between Moab and Fruita, CO there is nothing but sagebrush. You can see the big mesas in the distance and at one point I saw what looked like the Devil's Garden area of Arches, but I'm not sure.
Colorado was just as lovely as I'd hoped! There was construction through Glenwood Canyon and it rained a bit but Vail Pass was spectacular! I wonder if that ever gets old?
I got to Frisco at 4:30 and found a campsite - there weren't any sites in my first choice campground, Heaton Bay - it's got electric hook ups AND easy bike path acess, but I got a nice site by the water in the "parking lot" campground. After I parked I hopped on my bike and rode into Frisco for dinner! I'd been planning to get a pizza from The Hot Tomato in Fruita, but they aren't open on Mondays! I went to Peppino's in Frisco and it was very good!
I love this area because it's got great mountains, tons of National Forest Service campgrounds, and a large system of paved bike paths. It was here two years ago where I got re-introduced to biking!