It was another really windy night. We had to pull in the slides and put the satellite dish down. It was a weird wind though. We would get long periods of quiet and then it would blow like crazy for a few minutes and die off again.
It was a grey and terribly cold day here. It only got up to a high of 17C! Good hiking weather.
The Tower Arch trails is back in Arches National Park but it is not very busy because you have to work a bit harder just to get to the trailhead. You must drive almost to the end of the park road and the take a dirt road for another 12 km. From the RV it was 60 km to get there.
The trail starts at the Klondike Bluffs which is the little bump in the horizon below.
As we left the main road we got another view of Skyline Arch and why it got its name.
The road is called Salt Valley Road.
We parked and headed up the trail.
The first part was actually the most difficult. Very steep and rocky.
You climb up to a flat spot and then hike around the end of the bluffs to the other side. You have to follow the little cairns to find the trail. The wind erases any footprints in the sand very quickly so you could get off trail easily without these piles of rock.
The other side of the bluffs.
Scroll right for the panorama.
Jennie commented on how part of the highest formation off in the distance, below, looked like the Sphinx Head.
It turned out that it is the tower for which Tower Arch is named. To get there we have to go down in the valley, around the end of the wall via the right side and back up on the other side to get to the arch and tower.
It was a slow hike because there were so many shapes to look at.
The smiley face.
If you used your imagination there were faces everywhere.
Jennie is always checking out the flowers.
Climbing up the far side of the valley was slow going as it was very sandy. It was fun coming down on the way back though.
There were lots of weird towers and shapes on the far side of the wall.
That is “the” tower over Jennie’s head.
Our first view of the arch.
I am on a ridge in front of the arch.
Tiny little me back in the arch. I should wear brighter colours.
Looking out to Jennie taking my picture.
We sat up in the corner, trying to get out of the wind, to have lunch.
I had read in someone else’s blog that it was possible to get up to the base of the tower so up I went. Jennie stayed below.
Another couple arrived and had lunch.
It was actually quite easy to get up. There were long sloping ridges that almost looked like stairs. They were still a bit scary to climb.
I first got up to a flat spot, about half way up that opened to a view back down to Jennie. You walked behind this wall.
And came to this opening.
Here is the opening from the other side.
Here I am peeking around the edge of the arch from the opening, center right below.
The tower still looked far above me.
I thought I was almost there.
But the gap was too wide. I had to continue down a small valley and then scramble through these rocks.
Up the final ramp.
I wanted to climb up that last little bit to see if I could see out to the other side of the wall but it was just a bit steep and slippery and I couldn’t do it.
Looking back down.
I couldn’t resist another panorama.
I tore myself away and headed back down.
On the way back we discovered that we had walked right by this smaller double arch that was very close by.
Back down the sandy slope.
We saw this weird little bunch of ants in the middle of the trail.
The end is in sight.
I even managed to park in the shade.
On the way back I wanted to take a look at the parking situation at the trailhead to the hike to Delicate Arch, which is the main attraction at the park. It was pretty full but there were some overflow spots available so we will come back another afternoon. There were however two large busses there.
Father down the side road to the arch, there is a spot where you get a long view.
It was busy up there.
Everybody was taking their turn for a picture under the arch.
This beautiful blooming cactus was beside the trail.
We had had enough so we headed home.