Friday, August 9, 2013

Southwestern Swing: Arches Part 2, June 2013

We woke up in our beautiful campsite and immediately consulted our Arches map to plan our day. Originally we were contemplating one of the most popular hikes in the park, the walk out to Delicate Arch (the one on the Utah license plate), which is more than 3 miles round trip. However, by the time we had breakfast, broke down camp, and headed into the park, we realized that a three mile, completely sun-exposed, mid-morning hike in 95 degree weather with a four year old was probably a bad idea (See? We're not totally crazy!)

So, we scaled back our ambitions. First stop: the visitor center, where we filled up our water bottles and Brynna had a blast climbing on all of the animal statues.

Then we headed out to the Delicate Arch overlook trail. This lets you see the arch after quite a short hike (a quarter mile or so). See? There it is! (Yes, I'm sure it's much more impressive up close. Next time.)

Alex and Brynna found some shade for a few minutes of work on the Junior Ranger booklet.

B and I climbed a big rock.

Then we drove a bit farther along the main road and set off on a loop trail to Turret Arch as well as North and South window. Turret Arch turned out to be B's favorite—lots and lots of scrambling.

Then we headed over to check out the windows. We mucked about at the base of South Window for awhile, but it was not possible to climb up and in with a four year old and hiking boots. So we wandered around the back, and then eventually walked up into North Window and settled down for a break in the shade.

Some nice person snapped this family photo:

 Brynna did some serious work on her junior ranger booklet (here, she is drawing Turret Arch, her favorite place in the park).

And then there was time for some yoga (you can see Turret Arch across the way).

Brynna took this one:

Eventually, the gorp was almost gone and we headed back to the car. Across the valley, we spotted Double Arch. Brynna, who was just an incredibly good sport all day, agreed that we could walk the quarter mile plus over to it. It turned out to be worth it, as she got to do some scrambling there as well.

Family photo up in double arch:

Then it was back to the car for lunch (PB&J and some nice cool drinks that had been sitting on ice). It was getting on towards midafternoon (Brynna's usual naptime, especially when doing so much hard and hot work), and so the big question was whether we would dare one more outing. We really wanted to see Devil's Garden, and particularly Landscape Arch, which is the longest arch in the park and also the most fragile: a big piece fell off of it a few years ago, and it's probably going to be the first of the main features to go. Brynna the super-hiker said she'd give it a go, though we had back-up plans of whisking her back to the car while each of us made a quick, individual dash out to make a look (eight-tenths of a mile being no big deal for our grown-up legs). We were treated to a well-graded, gravel-paved trail, and with some encouragement, electrolyte-flavored drink, and number games, Brynna made it all the way out to Landscape Arch:

B and I then turned around and started back, while Alex stuck around to get a little closer and take some more photos. She was clearly very tired, but maintained a fairly sunny disposition, played games with me, and even found the energy for a final little scramble:

Then our Arches adventure was done. We headed back to the Visitor Center, where Brynna handed in her booklet and was sworn in as a Junior Ranger:

 Then it was off for some cold treats in Moab and a nap-filled drive back to Mesa Verde. We met Martha in Cortez for a yummy local-food dinner at The Farm Restaurant, and then back to Martha's to pack and sleep. Bright and early the next morning we headed out for the little airport in Farmington, NM, and thankfully our travel back to New Hampshire went much more smoothly than the trip out!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome, I'm jealous of your trip! Perhaps Ellen and I can make it out there some day, though I don't think I can hold up the arch as nicely as Hilary does.