Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 12, 2009

My giant playground

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 10:54 pm

Victoria, 25, approached me as I typed in the ranger room at the Visitor Center (VC) on my off hours.  “Do you want to go play in the Fiery Furnace?” she queried.  It was sweet, kind of like when your puppy yips at the door to go for a walk, and you really do want to walk, so it is a win-win.

The Fiery Furnace is one of Arches’ mysterious places.  Only two 25-person tours go in daily, both ranger-led, because its maze of sandstone fins has no map, no trails, and most GPS units don’t work in there.  We do sell permits to individuals who watch an intro film, know they are going to get lost, and still insist on going in on their own.  Today Victoria and I would be those people. 

Ranger Victoria leads groups through there multiple times weekly.  It is different, however, to traipse in there without a route, and just go exploring.  Lots of the canyons end in dead ends. Others are impassable from rock falls or too-steep approaches.  You just have to go with the flow.

 It was 4 pm when we headed in, and there was plenty of shade from the huge walls.  The first thing we did was find a secluded comfortable canyon and lie down on a warm rock fin and just vegg.  We had three hours until we had to be out to catch a ride back to the VC with Ranger Patrick, who would be leading his 25 people through.

I lay there looking up at five tongues of rock hanging over the edge of the 100-foot cliff above me.  I realized that I had the privilege of being in a huge rock playground that very few others could access.  We decided that a combination of walking, exploring, resting, drinking water, and talking would be ideal for a hot July afternoon.  Never once did we encounter another individual.  We did get lost a few times, requiring back-tracking to get out of tight spots or precipices.  Enjoy a few pics from our Explore!

Fiery Furnace, 7 pm

Fiery Furnace, 7 pm


me in my playground

me in my playground


Intrepid rangers Victoria and Kathryn

Intrepid rangers Victoria and Kathryn

1 Comment »

  1. . . . and where were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego>

    Comment by Dad — July 15, 2009 @ 5:55 am | Reply

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