Rocks, Trees, Early Inhabitants, and Towering Clouds… More of Arches NP

I am going to start at the end of the main road in Arches NP today. This is the trailhead to the Devil’s Garden.

Purcellville, Virginia— outside of Washington DC: We are at our daughter’s home where she lives with her husband, Clay and her kids, Ethan and Cody. They are renting an old home that was built in 1880. The main house next door once was part of the Underground Railway for slaves escaping from the South. I’ll do a post on the houses later.

Our visit to Arches National Park today takes us back to the end of the paved road and the beginning of the Devil’s Garden trail. We hiked a way on the trail but the 100 (37.7C) degree heat encouraged us to make it a short. We then doubled back where we checked out the historic Wolfe ranch and some interesting Ute petroglyphs.

Like so much of Arches, impressive rock monuments filled the area.
I was particularly impressed with this pinnacle.
And took a close up.
Gathering clouds added to the area’s scenic beauty.
And called for a black and white photo.
As always, I was drawn to trees. The red rocks provided a contrasting backdrop for this one we found along the Devil’s Garden Trail.
The sky provided the backdrop for this tree near the Wolfe Creek Ranch.
The rock foreground and the splash of green caught my attention here.
Here, it was the La Salle Mountains looming in the distance.
Wolfe Ranch provided a perspective on how the early pioneers in the area lived. This home was built in 1898 and occupied by his family for a decade. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
This old corral was part of the Wolfe Ranch.
The Ute Indians occupied the area before the Europeans made their way into the area. They were quick to adapt to the horses that escaped from the early Spanish. These petroglyphs reflect the Utes hunting Big Horn Sheep with their dogs. The rock art would have been carved sometime after 1650 CE. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Water was and is the lifeblood of the desert Southwest. This small creek would have provided water for both the Utes and the Wolfes.
I’ll conclude today with a final photo of storm clouds gathering over Arches. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

NEXT POST: The arches of Arches!

34 thoughts on “Rocks, Trees, Early Inhabitants, and Towering Clouds… More of Arches NP

  1. Did you happen to see the Delicate Arch while you were there? I just learned about it last night — a beautiful formation. It’s always wonderful to see water in the desert, too. Apart from the delightful visual contrast, there’s something about seeing such an image that always sends me off for a drink of water.

    • We did see Delicate Arch, Linda. There are two photos of it by Peggy in my latest post. 🙂 Water in the desert means life, Linda, and therefore it becomes a gathering place for wildlife and well as people including ancient people. Desert springs often have petroglyphs nearby. And drinking water in the desert means survival! I found a similar experience walking down the Pacific Crest where water becomes limited. as the summer progresses, often having to carry much more than I normally would. It really gives you an appreciation for how heavy water is! –Curt

  2. The rock formations are remarkable Curt and beautifully photographed. I’m afraid we would likely melt in the heat. I’m smiling at the comment above about the sight of it causing the need for a drink of water. Exactly my thought.

  3. You and Peggy are such intrepid souls, venturing out there in the heat. Though you were rewarded by some spectacular clouds. You provided some inspiration for me to post our visit on the outside edge of Arches NP from last October. It’s truly a memorably scenic area. I think you might enjoy the unique aerial views Eric captured.

    • Enjoyed your post and Eric’s aerial views, Gunta. As for heading out into the heat, It has continued to follow us. This morning was the only time I had even a tiny thought of possibly turning on the heat in the van! –Curt

  4. Great post again and stunning rock formations!

    Also, the Wolfe Ranch looks very interesting and especially to understand how the early pioneers lived in the area. I have always been fascinated by the way the pioneers lived.

    Thanks for sharing Curt!

  5. I absolutely love your stories! Photographs are spectacular! Living in diamond springs and traveling with you two here is a real gift!
    Thankyou from George’s alley!

    • First, thanks. Glad you are enjoying my posts. More importantly, where do you live on George’s Alley??? Did you read my post from a while back where I talked about how my brother and I were partially responsible for the name, Carol. The County decided to name it Graveyard Alley and put up signs. My mother threw a fit. She was not going to live on a “Graveyard Alley.” My brother Marshall and I were given marching orders. “Go out and tear down the signs.” We did. The county put up new signs. We tore them down. Finally the County name the alley after an old fellow who lived on the road that everybody liked! 🙂 –Curt

  6. I’m enjoying my return visit to Arches courtesy of your photos! I’ve never been a red rocks aficionado, but Arches took my breath away (in more ways than one; we too were there in scorching heat).

    • Laughing. Heat seems to go with the territory although I confess this was my first summer visit! As for me, I love red rock country. Heck, I love just about any natural area.:) Thanks, Lexi. –Curt

  7. You know, a while ago I saw you write a piece on Ranch Olampali. I was curious. Did you happen to know any of the people who lived there? My father was among the residents of the time, a Massie Tice.

    Have been receiving your travel blog for some time and enjoy seeing your wanderings and adventures.

    Hope all is well.

    Menashe Israel ——

    Menashe David Israel /

    *Currently Reading * [image: Book Cover]

    On Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 2:38 PM Wandering through Time and Place wrote:

    > Curt Mekemson posted: ” I am going to start at the end of the main road in > Arches NP today. This is the trailhead to the Devil’s Garden. Purcellville, > Virginia— outside of Washington DC: We are at our daughter’s home where she > lives with her husband, Clay and her kids, Etha” >

  8. First up, Menashe, having attended Berkeley in the 60s, I was fascinated with the story of Ranch Olampali. But no, I never visited there at the time nor did I know any of the people. A bit of serendipity took me by there when I wrote my post on the area and the more I read about it, the more interesting it became. A fascinating bit of American history! Thanks for your comments on my posts. Glad you enjoy them. –Curt

  9. I, too, am drawn to the trees and have no idea how they even live, although some don’t and their bare branches become an art form of sorts. I’m not sure we saw the rock formations you’ve shared in this post, but then again, we didn’t see all of Arches. I guess we just need to plan another trip, right?

    • Nature has her way with life in the desert, Rusha, ranging from deep roots to systems of holding water. And I’ve always been amazed at the flowers that shoot up, bloom and seed, all within a few weeks, or even days. Of course you have to plan another trip there! So do we. 🙂 –Curt

  10. Boy, have I missed a lot of your posts. Too busy here at work these last months. You are writing about my favorite NP here friend! Nothing finer. Can’t wait to go here again and spend more time.

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