Now, I'm not even good with taking the third step on a ladder, but I held on with both hands and took one step at a time. We walked across some limestone when the trail ended on a huge boulder. Of course, we climbed. The view was pretty awesome, but there was no where to go but down.
After sliding back off the boulder we found another stairway very similar to the first one. We went down to the first landing but could see nothing but forest.
It may have been the middle of October, but the record breaking temperature reached 90 that day and we were already feeling it, so we went back the way to came. We did not see any arches, but by the time we had made it back to the first fork we realized that we had walked across the arches and should have taken the stairway down or the left fork of the trail. Soaked in sweat we headed for the parking lot, drove the 7 miles back (taking a wrong road not once but twice) and decided to take the long way home seeing some more of the park. After about 25 miles we stopped at the Leatherwood Ford trail head to take in the view.
When I tried to lock the car door I realized that I had lost my key fob. We talked about going back, but decided that people lose keys all the time we could get a new one before we could ever find it. We continued on but the lost fob put a damper on the day.
It got worse.
When we got home and called the dealership, they wanted $445 for another key. It was too late to return before dark and it was suppose to rain. Sometimes bad luck just piles up on you!
Next morning when we got up and saw the weather man didn't know what he was talking about, we decided to go back and look for the fob (we knew our chances of finding it were slim to none) It took about an hour to get back, no one else was around and the clouds and light were quite beautiful. We were hoping that someone had found the fob and put it on the sign post or picnic tables. No such luck. We looked all around the parking lot and then retraced our steps. No key fob.
Since we came all the way back we were determined to find the arches. We did at the bottom of the second stairway.
On the hike out we talked about how maybe someone found the keys and turned them in at the visitor center. Again, we knew there was very little chance, but on the sign at the trail head we found the number to Bandy Creek Visitor Center and called. The ranger who answered the phone said, "I have it here in my hand."
It was a key fob miracle!
We drove back to the center and picked it up. No one had left their name and the ranger was not there when someone returned the fob, so we have no way to reward or thank the person responsible for saving us 445 dollars.
The moral of this story is:
Get some pants/shorts with a pocket that closes.
Call the park office before you hike again and
always pay it forward because if you find a key fob on a trail and turn it in the person who owns it will be grateful!