We checked for an open campsite for the night at Arches . . . they didn’t have one. So we found this outside the park along the Colorado River. Yeah, there were a lot of mosquitos.
But we were camped right next to some awesome petroglyphs!
Arches National Park, Day II
Chris and I spent the entire day hiking the rest of the trails in the park to see all the obscure arches in Arches National Park. Above is me standing in an unnamed arch we found while hiking to Sand Dune Arch.
En route to Colorado from the Black Hills, we visited Wounded Knee Memorial on Pine Ridge Reservation. The place was erie and heavy. It saddened my heart to stand above the murdered.
A sweetgrass offering on the fence.
Western Wonderland Roadtrip
That night we set up camp at Toadstool Geologic Park in northwest Nebraska’s famous Sandhills. I wanted to roam the hills and take some wicked sunset photographs. We set up camp, with no one else there, had a few beers and then got hit by a spring rainstorm. We waited a couple hours for it to pass, but it kept raining harder. So we quickly tore down camp and drove the 20 miles back to a paved road. We were lucky to make it out of there on the sandy, rutted road, slowly being transformed into a mud wallow. We headed to the nearest town of any size — Alliance — and got a hotel for a dry night’s sleep.
The Badlands National Park . . . the start of our Western road trip vacation.
Western Wonderland Roadtrip
In early May, I took Chris Coates with me on my first trip home to the rolling fields of corn in central Nebraska in five years. My mission was to see the family and get underground as much as possible in what I lovingly refer to as my “old backyard,” which consists of western Nebraska, South Dakota, eastern Wyoming and Colorado.
And so the voyage started by packing the car and hitting the road after dark and driving the first leg of our trip: 20 hours to Sioux Falls, S.D. We were contacted by caver Bonny Armstrong, a Park Ranger at Jewel Cave, almost at our destination telling us of a freak blizzard that hit the Black Hills in South Dakota. We were unaware that we were heading further into the cold front with heavy rain and 30-degree temperatures. Our plans were to camp and rappel the next day at Palisades State Park. Needless to say, we opted for a hotel room.
That was the least of our worries, as Bonny told us Interstate 90 was shut down from Wall, S.D. into Wyoming. How were we going to get to the Black Hills? We would have to backtrack into northern Nebraska and take highways to access the southern part of the Hills. Fortunately, the next day reached temperatures in the 50s and the 13 inches of snow melted upon arrival the next evening.
On top of the world at Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. Spent the day rappelling and climbing this 250-foot rock. It’s always fun to come here and see all the people watching us and gasping while we’re on rope. Great times with great friends!