Utah Rocks! in Arches and Canyonlands
We wanted to get an early start to beat the heat today, so we awoke a little earlier, had breakfast and headed out to Arches National Park, just about 10 minutes from our hotel in Moab. By the time we got there at 9:00 it was already 85 degrees. Not really having a plan in mind, we started down the main drive through the park. We stopped to take some pictures at the "3 Gossips" and “Sheep Rock” before continuing on to the end of the road at Devils Garden. We decided to make our first hike of the day to “Landscape Arch,” which was 1.6 miles round trip. It was a really neat hike with a little shade here and there, and a few areas where we walked through the finest beach-like red sand. We could also see “Double O” arch from the end of the trail. On the way back, Tom & I were adventuresome enough to try a little side trail to “Pine Tree Arch” and “Tunnel Arch,” while the girls sat and waited for us.
By the time we got back to our car, we had walked about 2.5 miles and it was about 95 degrees. We were all hot, sweaty and tired! We decided we were finished with longer hikes for the day, but okay with little walks here and there. So we walked .3 miles to “Sand Dune Arch,” which was a really cool arch hidden between 2 big walls of rock and surrounded by a bed of sand. The girls and Tom enjoyed climbing around on some rocks in the shade before we headed back to the car. We could see “Broken Arch” from the trail on the way back.
Our next endeavor was “Delicate Arch.” We knew we were not up for hiking the up-close, strenuous trail of 3 miles when it was nearly 100 degrees, but we wanted a bit closer view then the “no-hike” option offered. So we took the Upper Viewpoint trail, which was .5 miles and had a pretty steep incline up. We made it to the end of the trail, but Tom & I decided to hike a little closer to the canyon ridge to get better pictures, as we saw many others doing. The girls opted to stay put. So after we got our photos, we headed back, and since we didn't see the girls where we had left them, we figured they must have gone back to the car. We took a little short cut near the top, and went down the hill back to the parking lot. When we got to the car, we couldn’t believe our eyes…the girls were not there! The only explanation was that they were still at the top! So Tom excitedly (haha!) went back UP the trail all the way to the end where he found the girls still waiting. They had moved to sit in a shadier spot under a rock and we hadn’t seen them on our way down, in part because we took the little short cut. We were finally all together again, and we were even hotter, sweatier and more tired than before.
On our way out of the park, we buzzed by a few more arches (Double, The Windows) and cool rocks (Ham, Parade of Elephants and Balanced), took a few more pictures, and stopped at the Visitors Center for the park movie and exhibits. Chloe & Leah bought a few trinkets at the gift shop (Chloe is collecting magnets and Leah, bookmarks), and I picked up a “Utah Rocks!” T-shirt. We then went back into town, grabbed a few snacks from a grocery store and went to our room to veg out for a while. The three girls cooled off in the pool for a bit and we all just relaxed and cleaned up.
Around 6:30, we headed back out to see what Canyonlands National Park was all about. It was quite a little drive into the park, but there were some really nice views from “the Island in the Sky.” We took one little .5 mile hike out to Mesa Arch, and were really impressed by the view through the arch. We arrived back in town around 10:00 p.m. and enjoyed a late supper at the Moab Brewery.