Moab and Arches
We made it to Moab late in the afternoon of the same day we left Black Canyon of the Gunnison. With a few hours of daylight left in the sky, we decided to try and get in some climbing. After some deliberation, we headed over to Wall Street to see if we could find something in our skill range. We lucked out and found the Schoolroom slabs off the bat. Eva scrambled up by the lone tree to set the first climb. We're not sure exactly what we climbed, but it felt like the three climbs we did ranged between 5.7 and 5.8. The relatively easy slab climbs were a great introduction to climbing on sandstone, but it felt a little silly to climb a few 30-40' walls next to enormous multi-pitch trad epics. Again, maybe the next time we visit we'll have graduated to some of the harder climbs. One step at a time.
After climbing, we rolled into a small campground down the road, and parked for the night in the lot. We got to bed early, with the intention of getting up well before the break of dawn to beat the crowds at Arches National Park.
Our evil plan to beat the crowds paid off! We may have hit snooze a handful of times before actually dragging ourselves out of bed, but it was still early enough to be the third or fourth vehicle at the Devil's Garden trail head. After a quick breakfast, we set out to hike the roughly eight mile 'lollipop' that includes all the major arches at the heart of the park.
The first section of the hike was well paved, and ambitious tourists were already snapping pictures at all the major stops. After Landscape Arch (pictured below), the number of tourists dropped significantly, and the paved path gave way to a sandy trail marked with cairns. The Primitive Trail, past Double O Arch, was well worth the extra couple miles. After a few more arches the trail wound back to the main trail by ducking and dodging through a maze of sandstone walls. By the time we got back to the van, the lot was full, the sun was hot, and our legs were exhausted.