Arches National Park

November 9, 2016
Moab, Utah

The view from underneath Double Arch looking out.

The story of our visit to Arches National Park actually starts 8 years ago when Brad & I first visited the park in 2008.  We had planned to stop at Arches on our way home from a week long road trip around Utah.  We arrived later in the day than we expected and hadn’t allowed ourselves as much time as we would have liked.  But we had to begin our drive to Washington at sunrise the next morning, so we grabbed a map of the park and started making our way to as many of the arches as we could.  We would drive to one of the arches, hike anywhere from a few hundred feet to nearly a mile, take a few pictures and moments to enjoy it, then rush back to car to drive to the next location.  We saw some amazing things – Double Arch, the Windows, the Parade of Elephants, Landscape Arch…but what I hadn’t realized at the time was that one of the arches that I most wanted to see – Delicate Arch – was a 3.5 mile roundtrip hike.  We had stopped at one viewpoint for it, but from that point it was nearly a mile away and not the view I was hoping for.  When we parked at the trailhead for the hike to a better view, the sun was already setting.

“We can make it!” I insisted.  “I don’t think we should,” Brad replied.

A few hundred feet up the trail….”I don’t think this is a good idea.  We don’t even have flashlights, ” Brad warns.   “No, we just need to hurry, and we can do this!” I insisted through panting breaths as we hurried up the trail.  The sky was getting darker.

A half mile further…”This doesn’t seem worth it,” Brad pleaded.  “I am going to see this arch!” was my reply.  Our eyes were straining to find the cairns in the twilight.

When the trail started up a rock surface and the trail disappeared into only a series of cairns across the expansive sandstone Brad stopped walking.  “Sarah, this is dangerous.  We HAVE to turn back.”  I stopped too.  And I cried.

We waited until another group of hikers with head lamps came hiking out, and we trailed them back to our parked car in darkness.

Every mention of Arches National Park, every postcard image of the Delicate Arch, and every story about our 2008 trip to this site has taken me back to the feeling of that moment – of wanting to see that arch so badly and the horrible realization more than 1/2 way there on the trail that we just couldn’t make it out there.

So, flash forward to November 2016.  I’ll give you 1 guess what priority #1 was for us on this day…

there she is…

Even though the 3.5 mile jaunt would be a challenge for those in our party with the shortest legs, we decided as a group that we would tackle it first thing.  The kids were amazing!  Sunny, of course, more or less skipped the whole way there and back except when I insisted that she slow down and hold my hand in the more treacherous places.  Coral had to put a little more effort into it, as this was her longest hike ever, but she was a champ as well!

Sunny being silly on the trail up to the arch.
Even once you arrive at the vista, you have to decide if you want to walk across the sloping rock face to get up close.
We made it! Everyone was happy to see the arch, but the feeling of victory was mine alone.
Brad & Sunny under the arch

At one point all four of us went out under the arch, laid down on our backs, and looked up at the arch going across the sky.  It was a really special moment for me.

We were so proud of Coral for hiking her longest distance ever!

Oh yeah…and we saw some other cool stuff too.


Parade of Elephants
Coral found a fun little cave for working on her Junior Ranger book.

There’s just so much more beauty that we see every day that we aren’t able to capture in our photos.  After the fun day of exploring the park, we spent the evening in Moab.  We’d gotten so tired of preparing sack lunches and eating cold dinners in tupperware for all of these day trips, so we decided it would be fun to splurge on our 2nd restaurant of the trip so far. We sat at a pizza & salad buffet for over 2 hours!

This random picture is the only one I have to remember our fun night there – Coral insisted that she have her picture taken with this bear at the restaurant!
Double Arch

5 Comment

  1. Marie Scanlon says: Reply

    so cool! I’m glad you finally got to see it. she’s beautiful!

  2. Kelsey says: Reply

    Worth it!!! And good call on pizza buffet for #2 restaurant. Also worth it.

  3. Grandma says: Reply

    Way to hike, Coral! And I’m glad you got a picture with the “pizza bear.”

  4. Brennen Gooby says: Reply

    Caryl told us about your adventures at special olympics this years and Teresa and I finally found you blog. We are super excited to see your adventures. I have been trying to convince Teresa to do the same thing and take a year or so to take an RV adventure with our kids, Im still working on convincing her so for now i can live the RV life vicariously through you guys. Have some safe travels and awesome adventures.

    Brennen & Teresa Gooby

    1. sarah says: Reply

      Hey Brennen! I’m so glad you found the blog! Thanks for reading & for being excited for us. I hope that you guys can figure out a way for it to work for your family, too. Maybe we’ll have a truck/camper combo available around the time you’re ready to launch! 😉

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