Arches National Park

 

Welcome back everyone.

Our trip kept getting more exciting, more adventurous and hotter as we kept heading west. It is truly amazing that only one state away from where we camped (Colorado) we could find a complete different environment (Utah), a state full of deserts, bizarre rock formations, raging rivers, red fiery sands, dinosaur fossils, snowy peaks and as a matter of fact a completely different ecosystem. Utah is truly amazing and it’s the perfect state for adventure seekers. Utah alone welcomes millions of visitors a year, nationally and internationally. In fact, I do believe that the majority of the people we met or came across on the trails were mainly from Germany or France and their perspective of Utah was priceless. Some of those visitors that we encountered had never seen a desert before or experienced weather reaching 110 degrees and boy do they love the west, especially John Wayne! Let’s not forget the French… We actually encountered a French group wearing bandoleers and John Wayne style hats. It was awesome! As far as the cowboy hats and bandoleers go, we all enjoy the parks in our own way I suppose, besides who am I to tell them differently. They seemed like they were having a lot of fun. The point is, get out there and live life to the fullest while trying something new! I just put the hat and bandoleer on my list to get next time we go back. I already have it all figured out. Abby, Eyra and I will have our own western personas. I will go by the name of Itchy-Trigger Arteaga, Abby will go by the name of Snake-Bite Dakota and Eyra will go by the name of Patches & Diapers Desperado! I think it sounds legit!

One of the parks that I remember as a kid was the beautiful Arches National Park. I wanted to share that experience with my family (since neither Abby nor Eyra have ever been). As we first arrived to Utah, we decided to head to Arches because A) it’s super cool and B) it was also right on our way to our next campsite located in Canyonlands National Park, Needles District. You would not believe the amount of vehicles that were waiting for entry into the park, we counted 62 cars ahead of us and more vehicles were waiting behind us. It was a mad house and the heat was only rising, it was so bad that our A/C was having a hard time keeping up. I almost had forgotten about the summer crowds but the wait was worth it. It’s been 17 years since I had set foot in Arches National Park and honestly I don’t know why I waited this long and I felt like a kid in a candy store just mesmerized by the beauty of the park. I know I sound absurd, beautiful this and amazing that, but I cannot find the right words to describe how incredible this place truly is. What can I say, I love me some stinking desert! I could tell Abby was impressed too, because she had her window rolled down snapping pictures left and right!

The park offers the best scenic views without even trying. One of the coolest things to experience is that no matter where you look, there is always something neat to see on every corner and I guarantee you that Arches National Park will leave you in awe. The beautiful and massive sandstone walls will just take your breath away; the incredible view of the Three Gossips will give anyone a sense of welcome as they stand gallantly on the side of the road as everyone goes by. The gorgeous view of the petrified dunes and the La Sal Mountains right behind them are a sight to see and let’s not forget the impressive equilibrium of Balanced Rock. Sometimes I think to myself, I should have been a geologist, I guess it’s never too late.

That morning before we arrived to Arches National Park, our group decided to visit Landscape Arch which is located in Devils Garden Trail but unfortunately that section of the park was closed for upkeep and maintenance. After checking our options and looking at our map, we all decided to hike to Delicate Arch, which in my opinion is probably the most popular Arch within the park. “Why?”, you ask? A) because that is the arch used on Utah’s license plate. B) every restaurant uses Delicate Arch as their slogan or promotional photo and C) Delicate Arch is even used in Utah’s welcome sign. That being said, imagine the crowd it brings to the trail. Honestly that was one of the hardest hike’s I have ever done and the trail isn’t that long, it’s maybe 1.5 miles to the top. But then again, don’t forget that I had 45 extra pounds on my back (Eyra, pack, water, snacks) and the heat reached 109 that day with minimal shade and the trail was pretty darn steep. I was very surprised to have found a parking spot along the trail, perhaps I just lucked out because the parking lot was completely full and people were parking on the side of the road, even though there are signs stating not to. As we prepared for our hike I lost Karla, Edgar and Christopher. Later I found out that they had to park somewhere else due to the congested parking lot.

Abby was the sunscreen master, by the time I was finished putting sunscreen on myself, Abby and Eyra were both ready to go, I am the slowpoke of my family. As we began hiking the trail, I could see small ant-like dots ahead of me. Turns out that the dots in front of me were actual people hiking up the trail to see Delicate Arch. The ice in our water lasted maybe 5 minutes before it was completely melted, our water went from cold to really warm (as if we were going to drink tea), sweat covered our bodies and by this point the sun was at its highest point since it had reached noon. The amount of people on the trail was insane, at times the area got so congested that we had to move aside to let others pass. Karla, who is expecting her first child, was a trooper! I don’t know how she managed the heat (and in a long sleeved shirt at that!!).

There was a moment where I felt that we had hiked for a while and I turned back only to see the parking lot not far from where we were standing, ha! Who was I kidding… I needed to continue hiking before the trail turned into an un-hikeable trail with the massive crowds. As we continued to hike up we wanted to keep Eyra well hydrated and she sure destroyed her water, Abby and I re-filled Eyra’s cup 7 times on our 3-hour hike. I am glad we were able to pack 5 liters of water on that hike alone. The agony didn’t seem to have an end. The more we went up the less shade we found until all of a sudden we found a nice corner with tons of shade. Boy!!! It was paradise!! I voted to rename that spot to Sliver of Paradise and all of the other hikers who were sitting, resting and cooling off also agreed to the name change.

We sat down for a bit, drank some water and contemplated getting back up again, so we did what we do best! We people watched! There were some people who looked like they were going to die and others were simply trail running as if the trail was the easiest trail that ever existed and put everybody to shame including my group and I. We than saw a lady that said “That’s it, I am not going a step further!” and here I was thinking to myself that I was having a rough day but apparently not as bad as this lady! We actually talked to this lady and we tried to stay positive and tried to encourage her by telling her that she was literally almost there, to trust herself and to push for a few more steps. But she didn’t buy it, and at that point it was best for us to let her be, someone was obviously really cranky and I didn’t want Eyra getting any ideas. We grabbed our stuff and continued hiking for 3 minutes until suddenly there was no one on the trail! I thought we were lost; I couldn’t believe it! I actually thought we took the wrong turn since we didn’t see anybody ahead of us and as we approached yet another corner, there she was!!!

Delicate Arch, you beautiful thing! I had forgotten all about my hot hike, Delicate Arch was just there waiting for us wanting some love and she didn’t disappoint! The Arch is beautiful and is definitely very delicate looking! Once we were within sight, the crowd was back. We had to wait in line to get our picture taken next to the arch like we were waiting for Space Mountain at Disneyland (minus the awesome fast passes). But it was so enjoyable to just sit and enjoy the sight!

Let me tell you that the hike down was much easier but my shoulders were killing me. It was about 15 minutes before arriving back at the car when I threw the white flag. I couldn’t continue to carry Eyra so Abby stepped up and finished strong with Eyra on her back. As we were walking towards Ute Rock Art which are sweet petroglyphs carved on a vertical wall towards the beginning of Delicate Arch Trail we encountered a lady that told Abby “I can’t believe you did the entire trail with that baby on your back!”, and gave me the meanest look! Abby told her that she had just put Eyra on her back and that I carried her the whole way but she did not buy it and gave me the stink eye and walked away. I guess I can’t win them all, but I know I did my part.

We relaxed for a few minutes by our car, I opened the Pelican cooler and grabbed more ice and added that to our water because our water was really warm. By this point we had already consumed 12 gallons of water overall and we weren’t even to our midpoint of our trip. We packed our gear in the car and discussed our plan for the afternoon. We decided to head to the visitor center for a bit and later head to Moab for lunch. Sure enough that’s what happened.

We ended up going to Zax restaurant in downtown Moab, I don’t know if it was my hunger or the place was legit amazing but I destroyed all my food and not to mention Edgar… that dude destroyed 12 slices of pizza, 1 bowl of soup and 2 bowls of salad! I have no idea where Edgar stores all that food but the dude can sure eat. I asked Edgar if he needed to fuel up before heading to Canyonlands and he said no since he had ¾ of a tank of fuel in his massive truck. Canyonlands was our next destination and what happened next was for sure comical and made our trip even more memorable.

Stay tuned for more of our Canyonlands trip. Please see the sneak peek picture below.

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To be continued…

 

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