While in Colorado, I checked the forecast for Southeastern Utah, where we had planned to spend the following week. The temps were going to be around 100 degrees!
Not really great for the long hikes we had planned in the national parks – especially with a four year old! Plus, we really enjoyed the tiny corner of Colorado that we saw, and wanted to see more of the state. Is it any wonder that someone who likes to plan also likes to re-plan? So, I got out my computer, did some quick research, and devised an alternate itinerary for us that kept us mostly out of hot Utah. However, we had a night and a tour that would be hard (read: expensive) to cancel at Monument Valley, located in the northeastern corner of Arizona, so we decided to keep that plan and then swing quickly through Moab on our way back to the glorious mountains of Colorado.
After our morning tour in Monument Valley, we drove 2 hours or so up to Moab, and went directly to Arches National Park, where we filled up our waters, grabbed Junior Ranger books for the boys and headed to a shaded picnic spot for lunch.
It was hot and the boys were tired but we managed to convince (who are we kidding? force) them to do a few hikes, which they did without complaint (KIDDING!).
The first hike we did was to Double Arch. It was only .5 mile each way, and when we got there, we got to climb up on the rocks. Rock climbing always makes a hike more fun!
After the Double O arch, we headed to the Windows and Turret Arch. Due to a not-to-be-named 4 year old, we just quickly walked up to the first window, then around to Turret Arch on our way back to the parking lot.
A quick snack in the shade of Turret Arch bought C enough time to explore a bit.
After our short, hot walks, we headed out of the park for the day, and to our hotel, which was the surprisingly roomy and nice Homewood Suites in Moab.
Delicate Arch Hike
The next morning I woke everyone up early for a hike to Delicate Arch. I had heard that it is VERY crowded and the parking lot fills up early, so I set our alarm and everybody was up, free hotel breakfast eaten, and at Arches by the time the park opened at 7am.
We (and most others at the park that early) headed straight for the Delicate Arch trailhead, and tried to beat the crowd and heat for this 3 mile hike, rated as “strenuous”. N was in a much better mood this morning, but it was a very tough hike, especially the steep part straight up the slickrock
I didn’t get a good picture of the steep part of the hike because we were walking towards the sun, but you can get some idea of how steep it is looking at the picture I took on the way back down. N was getting a little tired and discouraged, but a few encouraging remarks from fellow hikers were super helpful for him to feel like the strongest 4 year old in the world for doing the hike!
There were a few spots that were high up and on the edge, and I was a little worried about L getting nervous, but he was fine. Maybe because these spots were towards the end of the hike so he was already comfortable.
After the cliff edge part, we turned the corner and there it was!
The arch was at the end of a bowl shaped area, so there was room on the “bowl” to sit and relax.
Though there were plenty of people sitting in the area, it wasn’t too crowded, and people were kindly taking turns standing under the arch for their photo ops. Here are our family pictures, taken by a nice, young couple from Wisconsin.
After our turn under the arch, we had a snack and watched everyone else take their turns.
As we were leaving to head back down the trail, there was cheers and applause from the arch. I don’t know what it is, but I’m imagining someone proposed. That is my story, and I’m sticking to it. Isn’t that sweet?!
Views were pretty scenic on the way down, and the trail was getting hotter and more crowded. I felt very happy to be on my way down at that point.
After the hike, we hightailed it back to the visitor center for the boys to be sworn in as official Arches National Park Junior Rangers.
At this point, we were about 20 hours into our 36 hours in Moab, and still had lots to do (and more Junior Ranger badges to earn – including one L had been anticipating for months!) But that is a post for another day! Stay tuned….