Sunday, July 09, 2006

Help...I climbed a big rock and I can't get down!

Ok, I'm finally posting the entry for my solo hike to the top of a massive rock in Moab, Utah. Most of you know the fam and I went to Moab on a little spur of the moment vacation over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. We had a blast! For more pics of the family check out my Hatcher Hookup blog. Here is a blow-by-blow of my hike to see the Delicate Arch.
Let me start off by saying that it is hot in Moab, Utah. There are no trees...just rocks and really big rocks. Did I mention there were rocks? Anyway, so we're in Moab visiting the Arches National Park and staying at a nearby campground. One of the most famous Arches in the Park is called the Delicate Arch and it is absolutely breathtaking. After viewing the Arch from afar with the husband and kids I immediately knew I needed a closer look. I was told by many people that the best time to take pics of the Delicate Arch is at sunset. So...I arranged for Jimmy to watch the kiddos while I hiked to the top to get some great shots. After a long, but fun day with the family I set out on my own around 6:30pm. It took me about 30 minutes to get from our cabin into the park and to the Delicate Arch trail. The signs tell you to make sure you bring at least 1 liter of water per person if hiking this trail......they weren't kidding! I'll get to that soon. So...I'm there....I load my 35 mm and check to see if I have another set of charged batteries for my digital....check! I've got my 1 liter of Dasani and some fig newtons in my backback....the essentials!
I start on the trail in high hopes of that beautiful dramatic lighting of the sun setting on the Arch and there's a hop in my step. I can't wait to get to the top.
The sign at the start of the trail tells me that it is a 3 hour hike total....1.5 there and back. Seems easy. I'm thinking this is gonna be a piece of cake. No problemo!
Sunday, July 9, 2006

Let me mention that just because I'm going solo on this hike does not mean that I was the only one making the hike at 7pm. There were tons of crazy people with "high hopes" just like mine. I made sure to stay close to other humans while up the mountain just in case anything should go wrong. The first quarter mile was bearable. I was doing great. Then came the steep climb....oh my Lord....I need air.....water.....something....anything.....just make it stop! My lungs were burning and I'm not kidding you my vision was getting slighly blurred. I have to say I never stopped, but I pulled out the water and walked the whole way with the top off and close to my mouth. If you've forgotten I had a deadline for sunset and I didn't want to miss it. I pushed myself, and pushed myself. All along the way there were little stacks of rocks strategically placed to help guide the hikers along the trail. It was a cool idea....and a big help especially when the blurred vison came into effect. I tried to put myself just close enough to other hikers in front and behind me for safety reasons, but far enough away from me that they could not hear the noises of my gasping for air. Everytime a hiker passed that had already experience the Delicate Arch climax passed me I would suck it up and pretend that I was having no problem breathing and that I was oblivious of my face being bright red and blotchy. This was a "piece of cake" remember. I kept thinking....after this next turn I'll see it! It's gotta be around this next corner. Surely I've walked a mile and half by now.
It wasn't until I had almost lost my vision completely and I only had a few tablespoons left of that liter of water that I finally was coming to the final stretch. That final stretch was tricky too, because I was literally having to hug my way around a curve that was only about 3ft wide and gave me a wonderful view of the canyons beneath. Try doing that with only about 20% of your vison intact. I was beginning to wonder if I was gonna make it to the top alive or even be able to take in the glorious splendor that awaited me.
Well, I did in fact make it around the curve and there it was.....the Delicate Arch.....slightly blurred, but still beautiful! I was amazed at the amount of people that were up there. Everyone was just scattered gazing at the Arch....some were lying spread eagle on the rocks and by that time I knew exactly why. People had their tripods set up just waiting for the sun to set. It took me a minute to get my bearings and regain my vision, but once I did I started taking pics. I walked all around getting as many different views as possible. I even managed to make it down to stand under the arch and get my picture taken. It was massive! I spent about 30-45 minutes on top not only taking pictures but trying to build up my strength for the trek back down. Turns out the we didn't even get a good sunset that night because the cloud coverage. Bummer! I still got a few good pics. I got home around 9:45pm, just in time to enjoy a few s'mores with the girls. It was a great hike and I really enjoyed it. I'm posting some pics I took with my digital. I'll try to post some of the better ones I took with my 35mm in a few days.