I slept beneath the full moon in the hammock last night and it was great. The quite of the mesa, the light of the moon, the gentle breeze rocking me through the night. I rolled out of the hammock around 5AM and thought- man, it’s bright out here. You see, I intended to shoot sunrise coming through the Mesa Arch. I hustled, it was light but I still had time. No coffee, no breakfast, no shave….I just jumped in the car and rolled out towards the trail head. Now in my mind, I was going to have a quite hike to the arch, set the camera up, maybe meet another person or two hoping to do the same thing and spot some couple out watching the sunrise together. Well, I was way off base. The parking lot to the trailhead was nearly full. I pulled in and fast walked/ran up the trail to the arch. When I came around the last corner I spotted a throng of people gathered before the arch, tripods galore, loved ones in waiting patiently in the background and everyone crowded around the arch. I was shocked, I was late, I was without coffee (which means I wasn’t really human yet) and I was wishing I hadn’t eaten anchovies soaked in Louisiana Hot Sauce the night before.
I walked up the arch having accepted my lot in the event. And as I got close a fella said, hey man, you can squeeze in here. Really?! Thank you. I set up, and waited….and waitied and then got a little chatty. Turns out the gentleman that let me in the horde was from Georgia….of course. Just above Atlanta in a little town called…(I can’t remember right now…its on the tip of my tounge and when I get a map in front of me it’ll come to me…but I am beat). We started talking and then another fellow in throng said he was from Georgia too. We all waited and more and more people showed up. Then the sun showed up…well sort of. You see it doesn’t rise in front of the arch, it’s more off to the left a good bit. If you were on the far right side of the arch you were good, if not, you know that tomorrow you’ve got to get up earlier and be on the far right.
I left the horde a little early and went back to camp to get human. I finished up the last of my cold brew concentrate I made before I left Stillmore. It was great! I got cleaned up, I was looking presentable and then went to town. Grocery shopping: check. I loaded up on garbonzo beans, tuna and a couple of nice avocados. Gas: check. It was a bit confusing at first. There were a lot of options at the pump. Back in Georgia, the pump gives you three choices- and the only variale is the number. I felt like I was ordering coffee out here…i could go with a blend with an average octane, a pure with a low octane, diesels, or some other blend options. I hope I picked the right on. Next spot. coffee at the Elklectica Cafe. This place was great. The coffee was awesome, the service was super friendly (like down right home style friendly) and the food was superb. I highly recomend the breakfast buritto.
I was fueled up, fed and ready for adventure…..of to Arches National Park. Let me tell you, this place is great and you will get a workout. Stay hydrated. I hiked over 12 miles of trails in triple digit heat. I saw people fall out..I nearly fell out but the sites are worth it. I believe I did every arch but one….by the end I had nearly given out. My favorite arch is a toss up between the Sand Dune Arch and the Delicate Arch and my favorite trail was without a doubt the Double O Arch Trail. This was an amazing hike. I may do it again tomorrow…what a treat. After a day at Arches I rolled into town for lemonade and to check messages and now I am back on the road to camp. It’ll be about an hour drive so I better get moving. Adios!