On the second day we awoke to the surprise that Bailey slept through the whole night. We were shocked. Still, when she was up, she was UP. I somehow fell asleep in the tent for another 2 hrs while Alene played with Bailey and Caiden and the kids ran around on the sandstone around the campsite.
It took a while to get going, but it had been raining a little that morning, so we were trying to figure out the best thing to do. We headed to Goblin Valley, but noticed by the time we arrived, that it was raining even harder. We, as a group, decided to take our chances and go try something else and hope that Goblin Valley would be better to hike the next day (as you will see, we were wrong).
We decided to hike up to Skylight Arch, which was actually quite close to our campsite. We had previously known this hike as "San Rafael Window", or "Wild Horse Window", or "that cave thing you can see from the road". We did it about 2.5 years ago with my parents and I really enjoyed it, but Alene didn't remember it much. By the time we arrived at the trail head, the rain had stopped and the clouds actually disappeared. It was a very nice hike up and back.
This hike is cool because you get to be directly on sandstone most of the way up. When you're not, you're treking through soft sand. When you get to the Arch, you're amazed at the size. Some other cool things there are all the people that have carved their names into the ground in the area. You'll also find some fake pictographs.
Here are some pictures/video of the hike:
At the trailhead, waiting to head up
Looking back at our trucks
A water soaked cactus flower
Looking south toward Wild Horse Butte
Bailey hanging onto a flower
The group heading up
Some pools just before getting to the arch. This one had a bunch of tadpoles in it.
Jared, John, Kevin, and I hiked up to the top of the arch. It was SCARY being close to that drop as it is definitely a life-taker. Would be cool to rappel into it though.
I laid on my belly to get close enough to the edge to take this picture
A few more pictures of the arch from our previous trip (I never actually took pictures of the arch while we were there this time)
Thumbs down to the fake pictographs (older picture)
On our way back
After our hike, we decided to part ways for a bit with the rest of the group. They were up for a scenic drive, and we were almost out of ice, so we decided to see what Hanksville, UT was like. We knew it was the closest town to the Swell, but we didn't know it was less than 20 minutes away. It was great to get there, see the small town, and get some stuff we needed. Good to know in general that it's not too far away in the future for a REAL emergency.
Alene snapped a picture of this old church in town.
Bailey got some serious cookie face on the way back
When we got back to camp, the rest of the group had not returned from their drive yet, so I went and set up a rappel, in hopes we could all have a good time doing that. I was able to hit it once (no pictures/video), then the rain came POURING down. I quickly ran back to camp to get dinner ready, in hopes the rain would stop. It never stopped the rest of our time there.
The rest of our group returned a bit later, explaining how they ended up taking some pretty hairy roads and had to find their way back. I'm hoping they post video on their blog.
We were mostly worried, however, for our friend James, who was coming down with his girlfriend. Not only were we in a different campsite than he expected (I was able to email him earlier, but I wasn't sure if he received it), but the rain got heavier and heavier. As the evening rolled around, we sat in the truck while bailey slept. Around 9:30pm we got nervous and I decided to go driving to look for him. Within 10 minutes I had found him and guided him to our site. It must have been so horrible for him to arrive to these conditions. We quickly helped him set up his tent, then all went to bed for the night.