Last time we spoke, Bobbie and I had topped out on The Whitecaps that rise above Klondike's awesome bluffs. Next time out we set our sights on the maze behind Tower Arch and below The Whitecaps.
Tower Arch is easy enough to find, especially now that we know it rests below and between a couple of bobbleheads that we can see from Daisy's well aimed dining window. Behind Tower Arch is an unlikely route that worms its way through a seemingly impenetrable chaos of fins, hoo doos, toppled boulders and dead end slots. We first spied this "chaos" while scrambling around atop The Whitecaps, and thus an idea was born.
We've trekked this route a couple three times now and it has become a favorite. I find it peculiar, though, how few people go beyond the arch. It reminds me our 1950s family vacations where, one by one, we'd check off all the places on our itinerary, snap a photo, pile back in the car and zoom off to the next Bucket List item. At the end of the day we'd all collapse on slumped-in-the-middle beds that smelled like my grandma's attic, in some nameless neon motel where a noisy air conditioner drowned out the antenna tv. I'm thankful for every one of our old road trip vacations, eating crackers and cheese for lunch while dad put the "pedal to the metal" in search of the next natural wonder, waterfall or roadside "wigwam" attraction. Sometimes we'd even stop at a "Stuckeys" for gas and a pecan log roll.
Rushed as they were, those trips instilled in my impressionable, yet-to-be-broken heart a sense of wonder and wander. It's what brought me west to Colorado, in an old broken down GMC pickup with all my worldly possessions in tow. That was the ultimate road trip...not knowing where I was going or where I would land.
Though I've spring-camped around Klondike/Moab for many, many years–this time for well over a month (shhhh)—Bobbie and I are still discovering "new dots," worthy places to remind us that we've only scratched the surface.
Maybe tourists are not as curious these days. Or maybe they are wore out from all the driving like we were on Dad's "marathons." Or maybe they are tired from the less than half mile hike from the parking lot. Do they not look beyond the arch? Do they not see all the goblin-like "figurines" that hover over them and the secret passageways begging to be explored?
Our cross-country route to Tower Arch wandered through overtures of "amazing grace," Oh how sweet the sight of red rock chaos.
|Two bobbleheads mark the way to Tower Arch|
|Looking west through Tower Arch|
|A guy gazes at Bobbie as she scrambles up the sandstone "ramp." Little does he know that the "good stuff" is behind him.|
|As in "life," the "good stuff" is not served up without struggle. A few tight squeeze areas to remind you of that extra 10 pounds.|
|A few inch worm maneuvers helps you work your way up and out of the crack and keep on going, making your way through chaos and (hopefully) route find a way out and back to camp.|
|Finally, The Whitecaps. Our "exit drainage" lies somewhere beneath them.|
|The secret to success is to "never mind" the "ifs" and just keep going. There's aways a way out...|
Shortly after the above hike Brent and Anita rolled into camp. It seems like we just parted ways from our Oro Valley Boondock. I guess time flies when you are having fun.
Still excited from the above trek, Bobbie and I were anxious to show it off. I was also anxious to mountain bike Klondike's 24 mile Alaska Loop Trail with Brent. I knew he would appreciate the views, the single-track, and several Black-Diamond challenges.
In the meantime, off we go on a repeat of the above hike, only this time we take a slightly different approach in order to include some of our other worthy "finds."
|Balanced boulder, with Marching Men in the background|
|Anita takes in the view through Tower Arch|
|Time to scramble up a few loose boulders, walk the "ledge," and take on the "ramp."|
|Yes, it is more fun with curious friends/relatives|
|Into the "crack"|
|Bobbie and Anita, out of the maze and into the exit wash.|
"Don't flaunt what you didn't earn"