Historically speaking, Arches National Park only gets about 9 inches of rain in one year. Understandable, considering that it IS a desert.
Consider, if you will, that it has rained at least 7 inches today and tonight. Also consider that 2 weeks ago we drove through a tornado warning in Wyoming, and had a terrible tornado pass through not 30 miles north of us, and I’m starting to wonder if my kids can actually channel their awesomely powerful kinetic energy into a force of nature.
No one that lives here in Moab can explain why it’s been raining all day and all night. “This never happens” they shrug. “Sometimes we get a few showers every couple months or something…but not anything like this.”
The evidence grows stronger that I have birthed genetically mutated children.
We were all up at Sand Dune Arch, happily playing away in the sheltered fins:
Not paying any attention at all to the sky above us, mostly because we couldn’t see it, but also because the sky above doesn’t really change all that much. Blue and sunny pretty much covers it. Also? We were having to much stinkin’ fun running around on the dunes, under the arch. All of a sudden, a rather fierce windstorm kicked up–you can imagine how one might feel on a sand dune when the wind picks up the fine grains of sand and uses them to abrade every surface area around–so we hightailed it out of there. I stopped to take a poetic picture of a tree (suffering for art is noble!)…
And that’s when we all noticed it…there were clouds in the sky. Not happy, fluffy, bunny clouds. Angry clouds. Angry, roiling clouds. Angry, roiling, dark, stormy clouds.
“But it doesn’t rain at Arches!” we all told ourselves. So, we climbed up a big rock and stayed to watch the developments.
“That sure does look stormy to me!” someone would say. “Sure does! Too bad they don’t get storms up here in Arches!”
“Yeah, ‘cuz if they did, that would be some great storm clouds for rain!” “Yep. Only they don’t get lots of rain here, you know.” “Too bad, that. What a waste of good storm clouds.”
We decided to drive a little ways further to the Devils Garden trailhead, and hike as far as we could to Landscape Arch. Daylight usually hangs around until 9:30 or 10 (convenient for rabid hikers that want to hike every trail possible) but the (non) storm clouds were making things a bit darker. We looked back the way we came…sure enough, still stormy looking:
We looked ahead…sure enough, still stormy looking:
Wow, what a treat. I think we all felt sufficiently appreciative that however rare an occurrance this downpour would be, we were going to be here to see it. And then the wind and the sand and the gales started up and we retreated back into our cars and headed back to the KOA for some hot chocolate.
That was last night. Today we ran into more weather in Canyonlands and Dead Horse State Park, and it was enough to force us back into our tiny cabins at the unseemly hour of 6 pm when the kids (all 7!!!) still had about 4 more hours worth of energy in them. We tried to pawn them off on the Harley dudes who got stranded by the weather at our KOA, but they said they’d left some kids like that back at home and didn’t need any more.
It’s now 12 midnight, and the rain is STILL falling. I can’t wait to see what Arches looks like all wet. The only thing is, the temp dropped about 30 degrees, from 88 down to low 50′s. More hot chocolate, STAT! It’s late, though, so I guess I’ll settle for snuggling in between Sassy and Golfer, listening to the rain pitter pat on the roof all night.