US Trip 2015 – The last days of this trip

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When planning this trip, we had a huge list of things we wanted to see and do, but not enough time to do it all. So to make sure we got to do as much as possible of what we wanted, we had to plan a bit extra a couple days. The day in Moab was one of them…

We got up a little after 4am, that’s really early! Checked out of the hotel, packed the car and headed towards Arches National Park. The plan was to hike up to Delicate Arch in time for sunrise. We did the hike to Delicate Arch last year, so we knew what we had ahead of us. But we did not know that the sign below was waiting for us!

Road closed

The last stretch from the intersection to the parking lot was closed! There was no way we were giving up after getting up that early, so we parked right next to another car at the closest pullout, and got ready to do the hike. While getting ready, we realized that the other car wasn’t empty like we thought, turned out to be someone else also wanting to get up to Delicate Arch early.

We got started, and couldn’t really see any reason for the road closure, until we hit a small patch of mud. Guess that was a lot bigger yesterday. We made it to the parking lot without any problems, and could start the real hike. We had to giggle a bit when we saw the warning at the trailhead, «Hike early» it said…

Hike early

It was quite dark when we started, but that didn’t last very long. Getting up early for this was definitely worth it, and I guess the closed road turned out to be a good thing for us. We had the entire trail to ourselves, and we could see lots of cars turning around at the intersection. It wasn’t too hot, and it was generally very peaceful.

Even though we knew exactly what would meet us at the top, rounding the corner and getting the view of the Delicate Arch is simply awesome!

Delicate Arch

And we made it! We arrived at the top exactly at the time we had planned, not bad considering the extra hike to the parking lot. We had the entire area to ourselves, and that is something we never had expected. We spent some time taking photos, before sitting down to eat our breakfast – probably the most epic place we’ve eaten breakfast during this trip (or ever)!

Us and Delicate Arch

After a while, the we were joined by the friendly couple that we parked next to, and shortly after another one.

View of the area

We could see that the road was open now, and that several buses parked at the parking lot. So after getting a few more photos, we decided to head back down.

Delicate Arch in the sun

We had a nice hike down as well, and had to laugh a bit when we met some people that wasn’t even remotely dressed for the hike. Not long after, we saw them turn around and walk back to the parking lot.

We got beautiful weather on the way down, and this really was a nice start on the day!

When we spotted this car when getting back to the parking lot, I just had to take a photo of it!

One life...

We started on the hike back to the car, but were lucky enough to be picked up by some friendly hikers that saw us on the top there.

We spent the next hours driving around the park, doing four earthcaches that was new since last time we were here.

Narrow

Utah - Life Elevated!
Utah – Life Elevated!

We also followed the footsteps of Indiana Jones a bit, to get a view of this cool place.

Double Arch

Before getting to bed yesterday, I noticed that there was a unfound cache not too far away. Heltinnen didn’t agree that we should go there yesterday, since we needed some sleep. So after heading out of Arches, we continued to see if we could be the first to find on GC629FT Feeling Deflated. We found the cache on the first spot I checked, and after checking both sides of the log, we could celebrate being FTF 4723.23mi / 7601,3km away from home.

FTF!

That’s also when I took a photo that made it to the geocaching.com blog at the end of the 2015 Road Trip.

Road trip

The next stop on the plan was Canyonlands National Park, and Mesa Arch. We had to stop at the sign at the entrance, as usual. They understand our needs in Canyonlands, so they have installed a nice pole the camera can sit on! Awesome!

Canyonlands NP

After a quick stop at the Visitor Center, we continued to Delicate Arch. A short hike later, we got the view we wanted. A bit more crowded here, but not too bad. After waiting a few minutes, we were able to take some nice photos of the arch.

View through Mesa Arch
Heltinnen enjoying the view
Mesa Arch

After Canyonlands, the route took us to Cisco, an old ghost town. But we didn’t take the shortest route, we took the scenic route along Colorado River. That meant we got to find more caches, including a virtual at an old bridge (or what’s left of it).

Dewey Bridge

After a few more caches, and a short stop to find the cache in Cisco, we headed to the Colorado border. And we could add another sign to our collection.

Colorful Colorado

We had a few more virtuals and a couple traditional caches planned. One brought us to a square roundabout (a squareabout?) with parking lots in it! We have millions (or at least several hundred) roundabouts in Norway, but we don’t have anything like this! A dinosaur guarded the nice park inside the squareabout.

Dino in the squareabout

A few caches later, we arrived at the last virtual of the day, at this nice piece of art.

Piece of art

We did a couple more stops, before arriving at the hotel in Glenwood Springs.

The next morning we started by finding a cache nearby, and then heading towards a virtual cache in the old cemetery. It was a short hike up, but a great view! After finding both the info for the virtual, and the nearby traditional, it was time to get back to the car and head towards Denver.

Nice view

When we suddenly saw a street sign saying «No Name 1/2 mile», we just had to see if there was any cache there – and of course it was! No way we could drive past that exit! So we did a short stop in No Name, and found the cache.

No name

We continued towards Denver, stopping at rest areas and viewpoints. Compared to any other road we’ve been driving on this trip, the amount of rest areas here is crazy high.

Since we had a virtual cache in Vail on our plan, we ended up parking the car and walking around a bit. After finding a cache and the virtual, we stopped to get some ice cream.

Ice cream in Vail

We know there’s a lot of high mountains in Colorado, but we still got surprised when the altimeter on the GPSr suddenly read over 3000 meters! So we just had to stop at the next cache.

We stopped at a nice viewpoint, before driving through the Eisenhower Tunnel and stopping at a virtual cache along the road. Since it was on the wrong side, we had to do a little detour back towards the tunnel.

The next stop on the plan was the ghost town of Silver Plume. We DNF-ed the first cache, found the virtual cache and took a short drive around the town.

Silver Plume

We continued to Georgetown, where we drove around and found several caches. After that, we stopped to find a cache at an old locomotive. We spent quite some time, but the more time we spent, the harder it got to give up. So we didn’t. Eventually, we found it!

Old locomotive

We did one more virtual along the road, and a couple of traditionals, before heading straight to the hotel. After checking in, we went out to get something to eat at the exact same place we ate last year (we also stayed at the exact same hotel).

Since we started in Chicago, we had to eat at the Chicago Grill!
Since we started in Chicago, we had to eat at the Chicago Grill!

Since we like to get as much as possible out of the time we have, we had a lot of caches planned the last day as well. We had a late flight home, and late checkout on the hotel. Perfect!

We got up early, and continued to find caches along the trail we ended the trip with last year. After finding some caches there, we had an event to attend. With a name like GC5ZYR0 Say Goodbye to your ’15 Road Trip Crew had, we just had to attend! We were among the first on site, so we decided to grab an extra cache in the park.

This event host really did a great job, with banner, branded water bottles cake and everything – a real nice way to finish our ~7460mi road trip!

Geocaching water

After the event, it was time to pack and check out. We delivered the car, and got to the airport in time to to the earthcache there.

And after a short flight to Chicago, where we started this trip, we could finish with the virtual cache there.

It’s been an amazing trip – we can’t wait to start planning the next one! (literally we can’t, so we started planning while at the airport)

At the airport in Chicago

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