US Trip 2014 – An elevated experience

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This part of the trip was from Richfield to Moab, with a stop in Goblin Valley State Park and hopefully a hike up to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

When we decided to visit Utah last year, it was after I had watched the Mighty Five Youtube-video. We didn’t visit Arches last year, so we simply had to do it this year!

We started easy, by finding a few traditionals and a letterbox hybrid close to the interstate. Once we got to GCRHA7 Tizzy´s Rest Stop, we saw something and decided we wanted to make our own earthcache here! After finding so many earthcaches, and still have several planned for the rest of the trip, we wanted to give something back to the community. The result was GC5C0J3 Butte or Mesa?

Utah is full of interesting geology, and magnificent views. The rest area near GC49CAZ Lunar Rocks at Salt Wash is a place you really should stop if ever in the area!

Salt Wash

We found a few more caches along I-70, before heading down to Goblin Valley. It’s a bit fun to see on the map how close we were to Goblin Valley when we were in Hanksville.

After finding the cache at the intersection where we turned off 24 towards Goblin Valley, I noticed a sign on a lonely tree in the parking lot. It said:

Planted in 1956
by Edith Marsing
Thank You

So we did just that. I hope this tree will survive out here in the desert for a long long time!
Watering the tree

We knew that there was a recently published cache in Goblin Valley, GC5BVT8 Goblin Valley Official Cache (V. 3). And, it did not have any found it logs! So after doing some investigations for the earthcache, we headed towards the newly published cache!

Goblin Valley is, as so many other places in Utah, simply amazing. This is a place you have to experience to understand how magnificent it is.

As usual when going on a FTF-hunt, everyone you see is a potential competitor. Just being here is worth so much more than a simple FTF, but it still would be fun to be FTF for the third time on this trip, several thousand miles away from home!

We got to GZ, and it didn’t take many seconds to locate the cache. The log was not empty, but there was no signatures after either the publish date nor the placed date. So I guess the log book has been recycled from an older cache. After thoroughly studying the log book, we could shout out in joy of being the first to find, 4751.69 miles (7647.1 km) away from home!


We continued to explore this special place, and found another cache on the way back. We probably never would have walked this far into the park if we didn’t have the caches to find here. I’m glad we did!

Goblin Valley

After Goblin Valley it was time to head back towards I-70. We stopped in Green River to find a few caches, one of them a virtual. The name Green River is a bit misleading, Brown River would be more correct.

Before leaving I-70 and heading towards Moab, we had to do a 22 mi detour to find GC134FQ I – 70 Rest & Information Stop. Doing a detour for a cache is not uncommon, but the main reason I wanted to find this cache, was the huge Welcome to Utah-sign located there. Yes, I know I’m crazy.

We found the sign, and took several photos. A bit fun to visit this small «copy», before heading towards the original!

Welcome to Utah

Before leaving the rest area, we had to find the cache. We had no idea what we were looking for, so we got quite surprised when we realized what we had to do. This turned out to be an awesome cache, definitely worth the stop, even if you’re not crazy about state signs like me!

Driving from I-70 to Arches didn’t take much time, since we didn’t stop to find any caches on the way down. We had only planned Delicate Arch today, the rest of Arches will have to wait until tomorrow. We read several reviews of Delicate Arch, and learnt that the best time to hike up is roughly two hours before sunset. AmayaTom told us the same when we met him in Seattle.

Driving from the entrance gate and to the Delicate Arch parking took almost the same amount of time as driving from I-70 down to the entrance. But the scenery was amazing!

We got lucky and found a parking spot surprisingly quick, because someone who was leaving waved at us. Whoever you are, thank you!

We knew that the hike up was though, but we also knew it was worth it. We decided to take photos on the top and on the way back, so we kept the camera in the backpack on the way up.

The hike was hard. Very hard. It was steep, hot and dry. Well, at least the weather was dry, we were not that dry…

But we made it! And as we rounded the corner, Wow! This is life elevated!

Delicate Arch

It was definitely worth the hike up, we will do it again!

We spent quite some time on the top, both to enjoy the view and to take lots of photos. With people everywhere, it was kinda hard to photograph the arch without getting peoples in the photo. We had to wait in line to take a photo of us at the arch, and a photo of the arch from below.

Us under the arch

That line continued on forever – which meant that there was always people under the arch. But the people in the picture helps to show the size of Delicate Arch.

It’s amazing how nature has formed this arch, and I’m so glad we got to see it! Hope we’ll be back here sometime soon.

It was a bit windy on the top, and we had sand blowing in our faces, and on the camera.

After getting the photos we wanted, and some much needed rest, it was time to head back down. On the way down, I had to stop to take one last photo through a window in the rock wall.

One last glimpse of Delicate Arch

The hike back was a lot easier than the hike up, but it was still a long hike. Now we got to enjoy the view we didn’t see while hiking up.

Amazing view

We arrived back in the parking lot about two and a half hour after we started. There was still a lot of people going up, and still a lot of cars arriving at the parking lot. We gave a sign that we were leaving, and hopefully made it a bit easier for the next person.

Delicate Arch is simply amazing, and I really understand why it’s used on welcome signs and license plates! We will be back! But the next time we will probably bring some more water, this time we had just enough.

Summary of our track log from Delicate Arch
Summary of our track log from Delicate Arch

Since it was getting late, and we were getting tired, we decided to head towards the hotel. On the way out of the park, we just had to take a photo of a interesting rock formation. It looked like four people standing together.

Interesting rock formation

After a short drive through Moab, we made it to the hotel. During check-in the receptionist joked about not finding our reservation. That would not have been the worst hotel experience on this trip… But everything went well, and we got the nicest room we’ve had on this trip! It had separate rooms for the bed, the shower, the hot tub and a huge living room.

Nice hotel room

Should be no problem getting some rest in this room!

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