We set the alarm for 7:00 because our timed-entry into Arches NP was for 9:00. The temperature was 49 degrees when we woke up. We did our morning routine and left in plenty of time to get in line. When I got online yesterday to check on reserving a timed entry, there were 88 slots available. I had to wait until 6 PM when the reservation system opened up to reserve one. I got in right away at 6:00 and in less than 1 minute there were only 66 slots left. Thank goodness I got one of those! When I checked a few hours later, all the 7, 8, 9, and 10 AM slots were filled. We picked an early time, so we would still have enough time in the day to take care of a few things before we leave tomorrow. Moab is the farthest west that we will go on this trip. This is our turn-around point. Starting tomorrow we make our way slowly towards home. We have a month to do it and still have so much to see. This is our last day in Moab, so we want to enjoy it. Our time in Moab has been memorable!
We got in line at 9:00 for our timed 9-10 AM entry. The line wasn’t too long. We finally arrived at the entrance fee station at 9:30. The temp was 59 when we arrived under bright, blue skies.
We followed the main road in and climbed up to the top to an elevation of 5000 ft. From up above, we could see the long line of cars that came after us. The line had gotten much longer.
The view of the canyon and valley below was visible from above with the clear skies today.
The amount of snow on the La Sal Mountains was less than yesterday after the bright sunny day we had. More snow melted today with the sunshine. Mt Peale is the highest peak at 12,700 ft.
The main road took us past the Three Gossips and the Tower of Babel.
We stopped to read the sign that explained how the petrified dunes were formed.
The Balanced Rock is a popular attraction for many people.
It was 9.2 miles from the Visitor Center to our turnoff just after the Balanced Rock. We were looking for the Eye of the Elephant. We turned on Willow Springs Rd. and then aired down. Some nice people stopped to ask us if we needed any help. We thanked them for asking and they moved on. That’s the second time that it’s happened to us and it’s nice to know people are concerned about others.
We definitely needed to air down on this trail as it was quite challenging and technical as far as the driving went.
There were exposed rocks–large and sharp-looking, in some cases.
Parts of it were deep sand and narrow, only one vehicle-wide. Others were pitched at a steep angle and we had our dials in the Jeep to let us know that we were at a 17 degree roll.
Some parts were steep–going up and coming down. At times, Bob used the hill ascent or descent on the Jeep to allow it to takes over the transmission and braking, and all you have to do is steer. At times, the dials showed a 17 degree pitch.
The views of the surrounding area were remarkable.
We encountered two other Jeeps that were giving a tour. They pulled over to let us pass. The rule of the road is that uphill vehicles have the right of way.
We continued on the trail in search of the Eye of the Whale. As we got nearer to it according to our GPS, we had to use our imagination to picture the whale.
We finally got up closer to it and parked in the area provided. We were all by ourselves and we couldn’t hear a sound. Not even a whisper of the wind. We took the path to the Eye of the Whale where we could see it up close.
We tried to climb up the smooth rocks to get under the arch, but it was too slippery. This is as far as we were able to go.
Bob walked up to the base. We were able to hear the echo of his voice as it bounced back from under the arch which was hollow.
We enjoyed the quiet for awhile and then made our way back to the Jeep.
The drive back was just as challenging. When approaching a rock outcropping, there are multiple ways to approach it and depending on how aggressive or passive you want to be, you choose the appropriate line over the rocks. The best thing to do is to leave the rocks unmolested.
We encountered two dirt bike riders who were coming down the hill. They saw us coming up the hill, so they pulled over and waited patiently for us to go by on this narrow part of the road.
We got back to the start of our drive and pulled into the picnic area to air up. Other cars came and went, some enjoying a picnic lunch there as well. We ate our lunch and drove back to the main road of the park. From there, we decided to drive into the Windows Section in the park.
We first went to view the North and South Windows. It was a very popular place.
This was a circle drive and we got to view a few more arches as we circled around.
Another side trip we took was into the Garden of Eden.
We couldn’t see Pothole Arch on the drive in, but on the way out it was clear to see.
We noticed this guy standing at the bottom of this rock and realized that there was another person at the top of the rock. They were rock climbing.
We worked our way back down the road towards the entrance to the park. There we saw more arches and beautiful rock formations.
As we made our way down the bluff, we could see that the line of cars waiting at the entrance wasn’t too long.
Inside the park, none of the areas or parking lots seemed overwhelmed with cars or people, so I think their timed entry system seemed to be helping with the congestion. We stopped at the Arches National Park entrance sign for a picture to mark our visit.
We got back to the campground at 1:00. Today was our last day in the Moab area, so there were a few things we wanted to do before our departure tomorrow. Bob took the Jeep into town for a car wash. I needed to vacuum and wash the floor to rid the bus of all the accumulated dirt and dust. I did a few loads of laundry and put away all the things that found their way out of their places over a week’s time. Auggie and I got to spend a little time outside before dinner while Bob did some prep work on the bus for our departure. I was glad we got to do some off-roading in Arches NP and spend more time in this beautiful park. Bob and I had visited Arches on 2 previous trips and have hiked and explored most of the park before, but every time we come, there’s something new to see or do. The park contains 2,000 catalogued arches ranging in size from 3 ft., which is the minimum to be considered an arch, to the biggest arch at 306 ft. base to base. Towering spires, pinnacles, and balanced rocks are being formed by erosion and weathering every day. It never ceases to amaze me with each visit. Tomorrow we are leaving to spend 4 days in Dolores, CO with a stop for fuel in Monticello. We are camping near Dolores to be able to make a visit to Telluride going in the back way and there are some 4WD trails there for us to explore.