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Fiery Furnace
5 Photosets

2018-12-23  
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2014-09-28  
mini location map2014-09-28
7 by photographer avatarAZWanderingBear
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Fiery FurnaceSoutheast, UT
Southeast, UT
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2014
AZWanderingBear
Hiking2.60 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking2.60 Miles
300 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
"The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time." Henry David Thoreau

Fiery Furnace requires a permit or an advanced reservation for the Ranger guided hike. Given that the area is a maze of towering Entrada Sandstone fins, we wisely made reservations a while back. The skies threatened early, but held off for the three hour hike.

Anna, a young Ranger with a penchant for story telling and quoting Thoreau and Abbey at appropriate times, led our little group. Normal group size is 25. Ten unworthy souls let a few thunder claps frighten them into the relative safety of the Visitor's Center, so much the better for the rest of us. Anna seemed as pleased as we with their timidity, so much more intimate with fewer. And this is an intimate hike. There are no signs, no real trail, and most of the time no sense of where you are in this jumbled maze of nature's grand creativity.

The rain had popped out the color of everything; rock, cryptobiotic soil, the ancient junipers, the red sands of the washes. We navigated the obstacle boulders, lept over some narrow crevices and squeezed through others. "Watch how I do this because I can't help you from below," was Anna's only cautions when we hit a particularly technical section of the hike.

At various stops Anna brought the story of Arches to life with her voice and a few props she'd brought along. This was a story of an ancient sea, the salt it left behind, the influx of erosion of the ancient Rockies, an uplift, a collapse, and then of fins of stone and a little water over a long time, of grains of sand, and the wonderment of those who first came here and now us. We could touch the story as she told it, both massive and minute; ancient rock layers, fairy shrimp in a pot hole of rain water, arches formed over tens of thousands of years, and 600 year old junipers four feet tall,some of the first organisms that crawled out of the Primordial ooze growing in undisturbed soil we weren't to step on at any cost.

And it was over too soon, and so was our time at Arches.
_____________________
All you have is your fire...
And the place you need to reach
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