Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hikes Gone By, Part 2A

In September of 2007 we took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico and along the way, we stopped in Utah so we could visit Arches National Park. All the superlatives you may have heard describing it are correct. It really is all that.

There are many trails to choose from, and if we'd had more time, we surely would have done them all, but since we only had one day, we chose the longest. It's called Devils Garden Primitive Loop, and it's 7.2 miles. Primitive indicates that there will be no comfort stations along the way, no water, no cell service, no nothin'. It was also nearly 100 degrees that day.

Here's a tip for all my hiking sisters: Keep the camera with you. If you don't, you're going to end up with a lot of pictures of your rear view. I include this shot not for that but to show the beginning. It's fun to look through all the photos and see how my apparel changed as the day grew hotter. Here we see long pants and kerchief still in the backpack.

 A Whiptail lizard doing his pushups. They really do pushups. It's a territorial thing, showing that they're in shape and not to be messed with. Kinda like Lou Ferrigno.

I debated whether or not to include all our photos of the arches themselves because a quick internet search will reveal all the same photos. In fact, although this is our own photo, if you search for Wall Arch, you will find almost identical ones all over cyberspace. However, in the case of Wall Arch, no one will ever take a photo of it again. It collapsed almost exactly one year after we saw it.

A favorite photo.

My very favorite photo of the hike.

Desert Cottontail. Eating a cactus!

The red-rock sandstone is very grippy and easy to walk on. This is extremely important to fraidy-cats like me.

And here is why. If you look closely at the sides of this photo, you will notice that I am walking on what's known as a "fin."  It's hard to tell from this picture, but it is a long, long drop off either side. It does not seem as wide as it looks when you're walking on it. If there hadn't been other people around, I might have crawled. I'm not kidding.

Speaking of other people, the two shown here were Germans. We always seem to run into Germans no matter where we hike. The Big Guy speaks German, but I don't, and when we first met up with this couple, they were trying to ask me to take their picture, but I thought they wanted me to be in their picture, so I got in their picture with them. Now some people in Germany have a funny story to tell about their hike in Arches. They're welcome!

We saw this little dude near the end of the hike. Once home, I searched and searched the internet trying to figure out what kind of lizard it was to no avail. I sent the picture to a Research Zoologist in Utah. He informed me it was a Gambelia Wislizenii otherwise known as a long-nosed leopard lizard in its immature stage. Duh!

OK, he didn't say "duh," but since part of his reply said "unlike their relatives the collared lizards, leopard lizards are usually not easy to approach or to photograph," I was curious as to why he didn't seem more enthused that I was able to not only approach but photograph this lizard. And seeing as I couldn't find a photo of it anywhere online, I thought perhaps he might have wanted to keep the picture for the website. Silly, lucky me, I guess!
  Bandana on head, pants zipped off into shorts, smiling even though I have a death-grip on The Big Guy because we're on that fin. The Germans took this picture for us. I didn't let them be in it.