ALL HIKERS

DAY 3: ROYAL ARCH TO TOLTEC BEACH

     It was another pleasant night.  We have an easy day, so no need to get up extra early.  After breakfast and packing, I take one more picture of the "Monument" framed inside the Royal Arch.

   
  The "Monument" - Royal Arch
10-31-2011 @ 6:57
 

     We make the short trip back to the waterfall and take a break while many in the group go exploring up a small side canyon.  I'm guessing that Mark will be shopping for shirts when he gets back home.

Waterfall and pool
10-31-2011 @ 7:29
Mark during a break
10-31-2011 @ 7:30
Mark during a break
10-31-2011 @ 7:30

     We backtrack some more until reaching the place where we will climb out of the creek bed and eventually get above the Royal Arch.  After another short break, we start the uphill climb.

Climbing above the Arch
10-31-2011 @ 8:56
Climbing above the Arch
10-31-2011 @ 9:06

     Pretty soon we are on top walking on a level trail and come to a spot directly above the Royal Arch and the "Monument."  They look entirely different from above.

Royal Arch and "Monument"
10-31-2011 @ 9:39
Royal Arch from Above
10-31-2011 @ 9:39
The "Monument" from above
10-31-2011 @ 9:39

     Bob and I have been a little slow by taking lots of pictures and we seem to have gotten separated from the group.  We get our first view of the River just after leaving the Arch.

First view of the River
10-31-2011 @ 9:42
Teddy Bear Cholla
10-31-2011 @ 10:08

     We make our way across a wide plateau and finally reach the end, where we have to climb down to the rappel point.

Small plateau
10-31-2011 @ 9:44
Nearly to the edge
10-31-2011 @ 10:18
River from the edge
10-31-2011 @ 10:42

     A group of rafts shoots the rapids far below.

Rafters far below
10-31-2011 @ 10:58
Rafters far below
10-31-2011 @ 10:58

     The climb down from the plateau was no fun at all as it involves some high exposure, so I am relieved to be down on this ledge.  Each person then moves over to the actual rappel point, where Bert fits them with the climbing harness.  They are then lowered safely down the cliff to the bottom.  Clicking on a name from our group below will play a short video clip of that person rappelling down the side of the cliff:

Leslie Bob Tom Ben Bert
         
Ledge at the rappel point
10-31-2011 @ 10:54
The rappel point
10-31-2011 @ 11:10
Leslie ready to rappel
10-31-2011 @ 11:15

     Bert is the last person down.  All the climbing gear is packed away, we hike just a short distance, and stop for lunch.

   
  Leaving the rappel point
10-31-2011 @ 11:46
 

     We then continue downhill until reaching Toltec Beach.  Our first task is to find a cache of food and fuel that has been left here for us by a raft group.  It was hidden well as we initially don't have any luck finding it.  With the help of some pictures of the cache point that Bob and Marcey have, we finally locate it.  Marcey works on the buckets of food while others lounge on the beach.

Marcey with the cache
10-31-2011 @ 1:46
Relaxing at Toltec Beach
10-31-2011 @ 1:48

     We see only one raft group this afternoon.

Rafters on the River
10-31-2011 @ 1:53
Rafters on the River
10-31-2011 @ 1:54
The view up
10-31-2011 @ 3:14

     It's Halloween, so Marcey breaks out the orange lights and candy.  Now, all we need are some Trick-or-Treaters.  Jim rearranges the lights to form the letter "M" in honor of Marcey.

   
  Halloween lights
10-31-2011 @ 6:54
 

     Tomorrow will be a layover day, so no need to get up early.

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