First Night

Yesterday was an epic drive day, the longest planned for the trip. We covered 423 miles from the Rim to Arches. We made a few stops along the way to break up the drive. Our first stop was at Petrified Forest National Park. We did 2 hikes there. The Blue Mesa hike is definitely one not to miss. The guide said it was a strenuous 1 mile hike – come on. When has strenuous and 1 mile ever gone together. Maybe if you were going straight up El Cap, but if you end up at the same place (the parking lot) at least half the hike is down hill. Besides the small incline at the start and finish, the hike was very pretty. Here’s a shot along the hike. The chunks along the wash areas are sections of petrified wood.

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We then stopped at Painted Desert National Park for some more beautiful scenery. Took a couple of pictures and then stopped into the visitor center. I have one of the National Parks passport books (typical retirement folk now) so I intend to fill it with stamps from the National Parks along the way. Two stamps already for the day – leaving Lou in the dust on the stamp count.

Our 3rd stop was Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado, AZ. Pam and I have stopped there several times on previous trips to take a break and “window shop” in the trading post. Had lunch there under a shady tree at a picnic bench and instantly made a friend with the local dog (possibly because I fed him). One of the hosts said I could take him since we hit it off so well. The dog is still there, with the pack of prairie dogs that rule the local area, but I did leave with another stamp in my book.

We got to Arches just before sunset and set up camp. I had booked it online and used google satellite to help choose the best spot. That method worked pretty good. Here is our spot. The picnic table and chairs are below the road; can’t see our neighbors so it feels almost like dispersed camping.

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