Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun in Arches NP with Friends!

Portal RV Resort
Moab, UT
May 26 & 27, 2014

Picking up where we left off...

Sunday turned out to be a mostly rainy day reminding us how nice it is to sometimes just sit and visit. We had a quite a peaceful day visiting with Pam and Vic and then later in the afternoon with Guy and Catherine.

Monday dawned bright and sunny for our planned adventures in Arches NP.  First on our list of fun things was a ride thru Salt Valley via the washboard, gravel road to Tower Arch. Its a beautiful ride thru the valley with scenes of rock formations and the LaSal Mountains. I was surprised and disappointed at the lack of wildflowers. I had hoped for bursts of color in the meadow as a result of recent rains.

Aside from seeing this beautiful valley, Guy wanted to try his hand at the Tower Arch 4X4 trail that leads to the arch and exits the NP via Willow Springs Road. The trail offers a hike to Tower Arch as well as Eye-of-the Whale Arch.  After several valiant efforts by Guy to crawl the steps in his rented Jeep Grand Cherokee, he decided to give it up rather than risk damaging it.  We resorted to plan B.

We returned to the main park road and the public parking access for a very short hike up to the Sand Dune Arch and a bit longer loop hike to Broken Arch.  Public access parking was overflowing but the parking genie (thank you Pam) quickly picked up on our positive vibes and we pulled right into a spot!  Sand Dune Arch is hidden among tall fins and rock formations.

This sandy path traverses thru a narrow slot that opens to a pleasantly shaded "sand box" with an up close look at the arch between two fins. So close, I couldn't really get a good picture.
Sand Dune Arch is probably less than 20 feet high with a scramble up the fin to the base.
Some one in our energetic group...climb on the arch which is against park rules. Shame on them!
Pam, Catherine, Guy and Vic

After back tracking a short distance, we picked up the Broken Arch Trail and were on our way again.

The trail follows a sandy path lined with sage bushes thru a meadow as views of the mountains and rock formations opened up all around us.
Pam and Vic
We weren't the only critters on the trail...

Broken Arch is so named because of the crack in the middle of the arch. The trail continues on thru the arch and requires a short scramble up the slickrock.

Thanks for the hand Guy!
 After "oohs and aahs", some playing around on the rocks, water and crackers, we were on our merry way...


The rest of this almost 3 mile loop trail winds thru pine trees, over more slickrock, around the campground, and descends thru a passageway between several rock fins...  

Thanks for the hand Vic!
 ...back to where we started.

What a great day we had...but it wasn't over yet. Pam and Vic invited us all for Memorial Day dinner.

Pam loves to cook and the end result of her efforts was spectacularly delicious with yummy ribs, her grandmother's German potato salad, beans, a special tossed salad, rolls and grilling cheese.  Oh, thanks go to Guy for tending the grill while Pam did her magic.

Joe and Rico

As Pam put the finishing touches on dinner, I took Rico for a walk and Joe had a minute to visit with him as well.  Rico and  his mom Jetta are lovely Portuguese Water Dogs.  We hope to have time to get to know them better in the future.

I just have to say that Pam & Vic are exceptional hosts.  Pam's engaging personality, obvious warmth and high energy perfectly complemented the delicious cuisine to help create an absolutely perfect evening.

We still have one more day...up next, another "WOW" in Arches NP!
Until next time, take care and
enjoy your journey!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MOAB - "Frins & Things"

Portal RV Resort
Moab, UT
May 22-27, 2014

Vic, Joe and The Big EZ
Anyone who has been to Moab knows about Fins & Things...well, our week has been all about "frins" and having a great time! 

Pam and Vic from rolled into Portal last Thursday.

We have been following each others blog for over a year so what a treat it is to finally meet in person. Our week of adventures began with Pam's  huge smile, hugs and puppy treats for the Tan Clan. This is Pam and Vic's first time to visit Moab. Joe and I have enjoyed their enthusiasm to "experience" this small town surrounded by snow-capped mountains and red rock formations. 

 Imagine our excitement when a Jeep ride was mentioned. Early Friday morning, the four of us loaded up in Pearl and headed out Kane Creek Road for Hurrah Pass.

After several switchbacks that took us into the canyon, we cleared a few water crossings.

The trail then climbs a series of small ledges. Rains have washed out the trail in many places leaving boulders and narrow passes. Now that's a thrill!

When I down loaded pictures, I was shocked! There were not very many to choose from. It seems the girls in the back seat were too busy sharing stories about puppies, children, and life on the road to take pictures.

When Joe and I returned home, we found a note in the door from friends we met a year ago this month. Guy and Catherine are from Belgium. We met them on the Landscape Arch primitive hiking trail. Guy and Joe have stayed in touch thru e-mails and have planned on meeting  here in Moab for many months.


Guy and Catherine really wanted to do Fins & Things (a difficult 4X4 trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area) so Saturday morning Pearl once again "did her thing".

If you are not afraid of heights and have never ridden the is a breathtaking experience! Some places are "leather pinchers", but that only adds to the total thrill of the ups and downs and crawling on a mountain of sandstone.

We were lucky enough to follow a jeeper a few sites down from us at Portal...thanks Jim!

And fell right in line with the neatest family...thanks Daneka! We enjoyed our day with all of you.

The picture doesn't show how really steep this is.

The black lines help to keep you on the trail.

A stop for lunch...and what a feast it was! Everyone shares...fresh blueberries, deli rolls, salamai, oatmeal cookies...

A perfect ending to the day...dinner at the Moab Brewery!

 Stay tuned...this energetic group is not done. Up next, exploring Arches NP.
I did see an egret at the Koi Pond in front of Belle.

I love my new Bird Guide...and after studying, my guess is a juvenile Snowy Egret because of the foraging posture and the details on the bill and leg color. What do you think?

The Tan Clan is also enjoying the great outdoors. All is good when we can enjoy sitting out with them.

There is a really cute Fox Terrier next door the girls had to check out!

Until next time, take care...

and happy trails!