The attendant at the entrance of Arches National Park told us not to hang the parking pass from the rearview mirror because it would melt from the heat. Welcome to Utah.
This place was so hot that eggs fried in the air before they hit the pavement. Dogs had to wear shoes so their paws wouldn’t melt and scar. I got a sunburn inside the visitor’s center.
We got a bunch of water (which was warm – yum), drove through the park to the end and worked our way back to the entrance. This area was much different than other areas we’d been to on the trip. The rocks and sand were red, which was cool and confusing at the same time. And by rocks I actually mean enormous rock formations, not little pebbles. For example, this is one we passed driving in:
Picture those dotted along the landscape as far as you can see, and you have Arches National Park.
We took a short hike down a trail to see the first few rock arches. Basically these are rock formations like the one above that have eroded over time to create what looks like a hole in the rock or, in some cases, simply a rock that looks like a donut standing up. It’s really cool.
On the hike we saw a lizard that we almost stepped on (way to overdo it on the camouflage) and TWO rabbits. As lame as that sounds, it was the most wildlife we’d seen on the trip thus far, so it was exciting.
After the hike, we made our way to the most famous arch in the park – Delicate Arch. It’s supposed to be beautiful at sunset, and luckily the sun was going down, so we walked the 1.5 mile trail.
Little did we know the trail was actually really hard. It was entirely uphill and mostly up a rock face. Near the end of the trail we had to basically scale a cliff around in a circle AND there were two lanes of traffic going opposite ways. Naturally my fear of heights set in, so when the little girl behind us and I stopped crying we finished making our way to the arch.
The fears and tears were worth it – the arch was amazing. As we climbed up over a little cliff wall, a natural bowl created great seating for everyone to observe. And the arch was huge – like nothing I’d ever seen in Central PA (surprisingly):
(If you look to the far left you can see a person for reference how tall the arch is.)
Little children kept running through it making me and everyone else nervous that they were going to fall off the edge and be gone forever. None did but how nuts would that be to see?
We sat and watched and clutched on to our water bottles for dear life for a few minutes. After some time we left and headed off to our campsite.
But alas, we were hungry. Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park are only a few miles apart, separated by the little town of Moab, UT. We wanted to find a place to eat that was local and representative of the area.
We got sushi.
And afterwards we got Wendy’s. Really dove into the culture that night.
We showed up to the KOA around 10:30, set up our tent in the dark, woke up every camper in a three site radius, and hit the hay. The next day we were off to see the grand daddy of them all – the Grand Canyon.