|Setting forth - Arches NP boundary|
Mike dropped us off at the cattle guard, and from there we were on our own. A bitter wind bore down on us from the northwest, forcing us to dig out our extra layers. We took obligatory Trailhead photos at the park boundary sign, and set off down the dirt road into the park. The sun broke through the clouds and lit our way. We made a detour into Klondike Bluffs, a not-often visited corner of the park. From the Bluffs, we could see north to the Book Cliffs, the La Sals to the east, and all the way to the Abajos to the south. The snowstorm that hit the region the night before left the peaks dusted with a fresh blanket of snow. A friendly reminder from Mother Nature that winter ain't over yet.
|Tower Arch - Arches NP|
The next morning, we got an early start and made our way down the wash. The windy canyon began opening up into a wide sandy floodplain. The Three Gossips and Courthouse Towers soon came into view. We passed beneath the park bridge and the gentle rumbling of traffic, and continued on to lower Courthouse. The drainage narrowed up, as we hiked along pool after pool lined thick with reeds. I preferred hiking in the stream, though the route was plagued by coarse gravel and the ubiquitous quicksand. We were amazed at how beautiful and accessable it was from the main road. Yet there was minimal sign of usage.
|Crossing the Colorado River|
Section mileage: ~40 miles