Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Delicate Arch and the Park Avenue Trail

September 3, 2014
Portal RV Park near
Arches National park
Moab Utah

Before I show you our hike to the beautiful Delicate Arch I want to ask if those of you on the email subscription list are having trouble with the link to the blog working.  I’ve had a couple of people for whom it isn’t going to the post.  Please let me know by email or in the comments if that’s happening to you so I can trace the problem.


After driving through the gorgeous Salt Valley (if you missed it, don’t.  See it here),  we drive on to the Delicate Arch Parking lot.  It’s getting to be later in the morning and the heat is climbing.  High of 95 today they say.  So we decide we don’t actually need to hike the 3 mile round trip trail to stand under Delicate Arch since with the way we hike it could take us 2 hours or more to go up and come back.

Instead we opt for the upper viewpoint and that turns out to be really great since it seems most folks have decided they do have to stand right beneath it.  There are a lot of people over there.




This trail starts out unsuspectingly easy but then turns into steps climbing straight up to a slick rock ridge.  It’s a little over half a mile one way.









Well the viewpoint trail ends but David is going on up the slick rock to get an even better view.   Guess this sign is to tell those who want to be finished hiking that they are.  Doesn’t seem we can hurt the slick rock by walking on further.  So we do.





Here’s about how far away we really are from the arch.  3/4 of a mile I’m told.  Can you see it over there on the left end of the far right formations?





But with binoculars and  cameras we can see this lovely arch really well.





The people look  like ants.





We get our picture with the arch.   Aren’t we a pair?? 



The views walking back are great!





That little speck of red is David. Everything but us seems really big in Utah.





By now it’s mid day and the heat is really coming on.  This is what our indoor/outdoor thermometer says later in the afternoon.  Thank goodness we are at Portal RV where the AC is keeping Winnona  16 degrees cooler inside than out.  We’d be cooking if we were boondocking in the Arches campground.  Good campground decision for this time of year I say to myself.  The temperatures for the next 4 days are expected to be in the low to mid 90’s.  Whew…..




We had just gotten here yesterday when airstream trailers started moving in.  First one or two and then more and more.




When I went up to do the laundry, I commented to the two women in the laundry room that there was an airstream invasion and they said yes there was and they are part of it. Seems we are sharing the campground with an Airstream caravan. They are spending 7 weeks touring the Southwest together. 29 rigs and 54 people.  We have rows of airstreams here.  I’m lucky I could get a reservation.



One of those people is the inspiring Beverly Kuhn.   She and her husband were full timers for quite a few years before he died. 

She sold their larger airstream trailer  and bought this cute little airstream van and now at age 82 she still travels around with her new furry companion.  She’s a trustee of her Airstream club in San Diego California where she lives in an Escapees park when she’s not traveling. 

I can’t remember if she said she’s done 11 or 15 of these caravans and just loves it.  I went over to her rig this afternoon to chat with her and asked if I could put some pictures up on my blog.  She’s a real inspiration.  I sure hope I am that young and spry when I’m 82.





After dinner David and I head out to hike the Park Avenue Trail now that the heat has let up.

The Park Avenue Trail is an easy one mile hike along a canyon floor offering close up views of balanced rocks, massive fins, and lofty monoliths.  They suggest you might want to begin at the Park Avenue parking lot, walk the trail and have someone pick you up at the end near Courthouse Towers at a second parking lot.   We don’t have anyone to pick us up so we are going to do an out and back of 2 miles.



One of the first things I see is the monolith they call Nefertiti.  And it looks exactly like every statue or drawing I’ve ever seen of her.  Now that’s amazing.  

Nefertiti who lived from 1370 BC to 1330 BC was the “great royal wife” of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.   She was made famous by the bust statue made of her, now in Berlin’s Neus Museum. The bust is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt.  This picture of it is from WikipediaNefertiti.  You can find out more about this Queen who is considered an icon of beauty by clicking on her name above.












Nefertiti is on the canyon wall to our left.  The canyon’s other side is bathed in shadows.



We look down and can see our trail below us.



The shadows change as we start down the rocky trail



Remember these steps, you’ll see them again when we climb back up but they’ll be going somewhere different.




Because evening is coming on the shadows darken some areas of the canyon. But the sun shines its golden light on others and it changes as we walk along.






We come to the wash and the bottom is a rock face with the most beautiful designs.  I wonder if the ocean floor could look like this.  Is it rock too?   It’s almost overwhelming to look up at the massive rocks and amazing to look down at the designs.




The rock face goes on and on.  Can’t you just see the water flowing?  




David contemplates crossing the river.




Reminds me of paper marbling.


Yes you have come to today’s over done picture section.  It’s just so beautiful.











We can see the mouth of the canyon and Courthouse towers from quite a distance away.   That little bitty white dot is the moon rising.












Skies begin to color.




With that color in the sky we know the sun is down and the canyon will quickly be getting too dark to see. Of course we have not remembered to bring flashlights. We never think we’ll be gone that long and we always seem to be. You’d think we’d learn. But instead we just hustle up our pace to return. 








We look back as we hurry along watching the color develop in the sky.






Before I even reach the steps I’m singing “I’ll build a stairway to heaven, I’ll climb to the highest star”.  Or at least to the moon.




Nefertiti, silhouetted against the blue black sky, bids us a silent good night  What a wonderful hike to take in the evening.  Probably in the morning too.  Hope you get to do it some day.  Hope we get to do it again!




  1. I found Park Avenue awesome! I took pictures of it at different times of the day, but late afternoon was the best I think.

  2. Great memories. I did stand under Delicate Arch many years ago, now. We used to go before dawn and we were on our way out by 9 or 10 a.m. If it's 95 in September, you can imagine what it was in July. We'd go back in the evening. I remember one night exclaiming on my camcorder, "My gosh those birds fly fast" only to find out they were bats! If you want to read a good book, pick up "Desert Solitaire" by Edward Abbey.

    1. I worship at Abbey's shrine and have read Desert Solitaire more times than I care to admit. The Monkey Wrench gang too.

  3. My hat (bonnet!) is off to you for doing this hike. We went the other way, and it was pretty arduous. I kept getting lost on the slick rock, and made it to the arch just as it was getting a little dark for photos. This was back in the 80's (film camera), and I stupidly had forgotten to pack an extra roll of film. I had ONE exposure left, so I took it and we started back down. Gary had taken lots of photos before I got there, so it's not like we don't have any pictures.

    Lessee, I was in my 40's then, and remember being darned tired by the time we got down, so I am doubly impressed with your stamina!

    Virtual hugs,


  4. I enjoyed Park place too. A young family "adopted" us and it was such fun to find shapes in the rocks to show the kids and see it all through the eyes and wonder of their eyes. Loved seeing it all again with you. I would be happy to see it all again and again.

  5. The floor of the wash indeed looks like your feet would get wet! Nefertiti is incredible - there is no doubt about "who" that rock is :-) . I love that you find hikes for after dinner - the colors are so different, and you must sleep like teenagers (definitely better sleepers than babies!). Don't know if you traveled yesterday or today, but hope you're new spot is wonderful. And a blessed Autumn Equinox to you both :-)))

  6. oh wow. . .that river of rock is so great. ..but the stairway to heaven with the moon just hanging there waiting is my fave. . .spectacular even!

  7. Hi,
    I am not having any trouble with the blog. Keep us posted with your travels. Wouldn't miss it for the world.
    Vinny and Donna

  8. Spectacular! Thanks for sharing that walk. The river of rock and Nefertiti were awesome.

  9. Just magical! The colors, the designs. How lovely to go later in the evening!

  10. What a spectacular place, and beautiful pics. Yes, that outcrop does look like her.

    I get your blog through my blogroll, not through email subscription, and I haven't noticed any problems.

  11. LOVE that Nefertiti rock!! That is SO cool... been to Arches twice and never have gotten to see Delecate Arch.. it is beautiful...

  12. Delicate Arch and Park Avenue are two of our favorites in Arches. We've also hiked both in the evening, finding our way by moonlight. Pure magic! Your photos are wonderful and bring back such great memories. (Edward Abbey is one of our favorites, too.) :-)

  13. Beautiful hike, thank you! The sun and shadows are wonderful with the way they play on the rocks. The "ocean" floor is really cool the way it waves. It is amazing how the weather and water create these incredible patterns.


  14. Rving in our 80s....what a sweet dream! Sunset pics.....awesome!!!

  15. Wow, that location is an artist's delight. I WANNA GO THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Wonderful pictures! It sure looks like you picked the right hike. I will be glad to be doing anything at 82:)

  17. That's too bad that it was so hot and you didn't get up to the Delicate Arch. But it would have been a tough go up the steep slick rock incline at 95 in the sun. Glad you made the decision you did:) Now you have something to look forward to for your next visit!

    Park Avenue was a fun trail. Beautiful designs and colors.

    I love that you were out at sundown. Very cool photos. And that sunset is awesome:)

  18. Sherry great post as usual. We just did the trails in the "Windows" section today along with the Park Avenue trail in mid-afternoon. We have to get over to the park just before sunset to catch some of those beautiful picture opportunities.
    Due to recent rains, the section of road leading to the Upper and Lower Delicate Arch area is closed. You have to hike the longer route to see the arch. We'll do that one in a few days.

  19. Your 82 year old new friend sure doesn't look that old. Good for her that she's still traveling.

    I love the wash area. It's too bad it's so hot there. That surprised me since you are so much farther north than we are, and we're having a cool spell here. (even running the heat)

  20. Fantastic hike with your usual great pictures and story. But I especially loved the picture of you in your bonnet! Are you honoring the pioneer women who came before you? ;c)

  21. You two are a pair ;) Nefertiti is impressive-it looks so like the sculpture. Great picture of it beneath the darkening sky. Love the marble rock pictures and sunset shot. I hope I'm so out and about at 82 myself!

  22. As 82 gets closer and closer... it does my heart good to see her out and enjoying life:o)) Your photos of the hike are wonderful, but it does look warm!!! Love the bonnet...you're such a trend setter;o))

  23. When I see those rock formations that are named for different people or objects, I wonder who was the first person to name them? I'm sure the formations have changed over the years from erosion, and at what point did they start looking like what they're named for :) Great pictures at different perspectives.

  24. I think awesome is worn out. Great pictures - especially the one of you two desert nomads. This is where a time lapse video of the last billion years would be really cool (maybe 1 frame every 10,000 years). Unfortunately, that would be a movie over 11 hours long. And who knows what big changes happen in 10,000 years. I'm sure the Nefertiti rock was there long before Nefertiti was in Egypt. As always, thanks for sharing.

  25. Great post ! The pics are just wow, the one's that Cought the moon !!!! Loved them *Still traveling at 82 "expressive " . Got to make it back there one day.

  26. I've been up under Delicate Arch three times, tried to go up four...and that one time I did not make it all the way was a 98 degree day. The first time I made it to the top I was alone, mother of my first two children stayed in the car with them as I did it alone. On that trip, in November I think, there were not a lot of people there, no snow yet, and when I got to the Arch, it was almost a spiritual experience....awesome does not start to explain the feeling..... I hope David's health allows you both to visit again during less heat, less people time of year so you can enjoy your solitude along with the beauty of the park. --Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

  27. We also stood under the arch years ago. Great country! We did the same thing. We climbed a huge slick rock to view the sunset and almost didn't make it down before dark!

  28. As always, Outstanding!
    The awesome pair is to my opinion the poster couple of great hikes and beautiful narratives. I can't wait myself to meet Nefertiti and walk the stairway to the moon!

  29. With as big as that arch is and as many people I'd say the distant view is better. Beverly is an inspiration, as is Nefertiti. Wonderful rock waves to walk.

  30. I'm sorry you missed getting all the way up to Delicate Arch. I remember the time we spent up at the arch as being a highlight of our visit ... but we started out early and the temp was nowhere near what you had.

  31. Thanks for bringing back some great memories of both of those hikes.

  32. I love the play of the sunlight on the rocks and the sunset photos are great!


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