We’ve made a couple of trips to Arches National Park since our arrival here in Moab. The first time out was on a rainy, cold, windy day that we thought would be good because there would not be so many people at each arch. Unfortunately we could not bring ourselves to get out of the car and hike to any of the crowd-free arches because well … it was cold, rainy and windy. Instead we made notes for future hikes admiring what we could from the warmth of the car.
Later that day our campsite neighbors told us about a “must do” hike in the park called Fiery Furnace. This hike is a challenging trek through fins, slots, across ravines with no marked trails – sort of a wander, climb, jump, scramble more than a hike. Our neighbors assured us that even though the park highly recommended the Ranger led version of the hike through this area, we should assert ourselves and get a day hike pass and do it on our own. Thank goodness we did not fall for that. Obviously our neighbors were experienced hikers and did not know us well. I have been forbidden to lead any hikes anywhere every since the disastrous Glacier NP “death march” to Iceberg Lake. The survivors of that grueling 9+ hour march are still thankful to have made it back alive and that was on a clearly marked trail straight in and straight back out. Fiery Furnace has no marked trails, GPS doesn’t work there and there is no map – you use only your natural hiking skills (of which I have none) to find your way around. We decided to sign up for the Ranger led hike. About 5 minutes in neither Storm or I had any idea how to get out – thank goodness we had that Ranger to follow!