ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Is it absolute insanity to try and do Arches in a day? Yes. Did I attempt it anyways? Yup! I love a good challenge. This one required a dubious amount of research to execute flawlessly. And guess what happened? It still wasn’t as we planned, but it was a perfect day at Arches nonetheless.

I’ll break down the different points of interest we visited in the park. I’ll even include Wilson’s arch as an honorable mention at the end because of its proximity to the park.

Getting into the Park

We set our alarms super early and were on the road by 6:15am. We watched yet another lovely sunrise from the car.

Arches is a very large park and Arches Scenic Dr runs through a good chunk of it. As we drove on the road meandering through the park we caught this scene. I can NOT make this up. This is what the sky looked like!

We spotted the Three Gossips on the left and the Courthouse Towers on the right the further we drove into the park.

Double Arch

We drove to double arch super early as our first stop. Double arch is 0.5 miles RT from the trailhead and is home to the highest arch in the entire park. Honestly, we thought we were driving to delicate arch and didn’t realize it until we got to the sign at the trailhead. Not wanting to double back we carried forward with exploring these arches. From the car it looked very dark.

As the sun continued to rise it started filling the shadows with light. We were there just over an hour and the arches looked so different in that time lapse.

It was nearly impossible for me to capture both arches in a shot while standing beneath them. And with good reason as they are very large arches. The closest I got was with the fisheye lense I put on my iPhone.

When you’re sitting inside the arch the view towards the trailhead is nice too. You can see the parking lot so clearly, but they feel a world away standing in that space.

Delicate Arch, Petroglyphs and Wilson’s Cabin

We were so fortunate that someone was pulling out of a parking spot when we got to the end of the oblong shaped lot. Every single spot was filled, including the approximately 20 RV spots (filled with mostly non-RV-type vehicles). That’s why our first stop was supposed to be Delicate Arch. But everything worked out and we were pleasantly surprised to get a spot right away. Others may not be so lucky, so plan to arrive early!

This hike climbs 500 ft and is 3 miles long. But it is exposed. So exposed. Did I mention exposed? I went into sweaty workout-mode immediately with the help of the sun. There are very few places to rest in the shade and I could see people loosing steam on the way up. Make sure you are carrying enough water when you attempt this hike, especially in the summer months!

There’s a window on the way to delicate arch that’s easy to miss. I was curious to see what was on the other side and discovered this awesome view. Unfortunately, after taking some pictures here a line had formed. That was definitely a sign of things to come.

So you get the arch and now what? Want a picture with it? Of course! I did not hike in all of that sun up that super long rock to not capture a moment with the final destination! Well, this photo opportunity also had a line that had formed. I wasn’t happy about it. After all I’m a New Yorker and we do things on the move, never stopping/waiting. I was happy to see it wasn’t a very long line and it moved rather quickly for me.

One of our co-travelers didn’t have that same luck and was skipped twice! So Tony decided that while CJ struggled with the line and the skipping, he would take a much deserved nap in the shade.

Having had enough of the super touristy vibes it was time to head down. Going down is way easier and it gives you a completely different perspective of the landscape.

At the base of the delicate arch trail (at the entrance basically) there’s Ute Rock Art. The sign says it was carved between AD 1650-1850. You can walk right up to it, but DO NOT touch the art. Aside from preserving the art not touching it will also help you avoid a potential $250,000 fine and five year imprisonment. I’m glad they’re taking the preservation of these sights seriously!

After we completed the hike to delicate arch and viewed the Ute art, we visited the Wolfe Ranch. The first settler in this area, John Wesley Wolfe, built it in 1906. He’d been there since the late 1800s. It’s a one-room wooden cabin that housed Wolfe and his daughter’s family until the year 1910.

Landscape Arch

On the Garden Trail there are several options for arch viewing. We decided we would see the landscape arch because I read somewhere that it may not be around for much longer. The trail to the Landscape arch is 2.0 miles long and also very exposed. At the trailhead there are facilities and water fountains. There is no excuse, bring water!

Due to a rock slab falling in 1991, you can no longer hike right up to the arch. This is for safety reasons and the trail gets you to this point. Being closer would have been nice, but not worrying about a slab landing on me is really nice too.

Nicole and I were having a hard time capturing a photo with no one else in it. So the guys found this perfectly nap-able rock and got to it. Isn’t that a nice place for a nap?

When you’re walking back to your car, pay attention to the vista. Only in the southwest can you walk in the desert and still see snow 🙂

Balancing Rock

This formation is sandstone on top of mudstone. It had a counterpart that has fallen and it’s only a matter of time before the larger rock falls too. It’s interesting to see something so strong and heavy simultaneously be weak. What’s awesome trail-wise is that you park your car and walk right up to the base of this one. There isn’t any strenuous hiking and when you’ve had your fill you can run back to your car and pump the A.C.

As we got in the car and prepared to leave Arches we came across this view. I totally ran in traffic to capture this. I’m joking! I did it safely of course. Don’t tell my mom…

Wilson’s Arch

So Wilson’s arch is located just outside Arches National Park. It took us about 30 minutes to get there and there’s a large paved pull off for you to park. There aren’t any facilities here and when we arrived only two other cars were parked. Please be careful crossing the street here when coming from Arches. It’s not like the road inside the park with lower speed limits and tourist. This road has 16 wheelers and high speeds. This “trail” is about 1/2 mile long but steep. Watch your footing heading up and enjoy the view!

All things considered, Arches was beautiful. The arches are definitely something to see in person. To stand under and admire their grandness. I would love to come back and hike through the Furnace one day and share it with you. Want to know anything else about this day at the park? I’d be more than happy to share. Ask below in the comments section!

“An arch consists of two weaknesses which, leaning one against the other, make a strength.”

Leonardo Da Vinci
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WATCHMAN TRAIL

GPS: 37.200281, -112.986103

TIME: 1H 45M

LENGTH: 3.0 MILES

ELEVATION CHANGE:  356ft

DATE: APRIL 23, 2019

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For our first day and first hike at Zion National Park we decided to do a warm up. We searched online for the easier hikes with views and found the watchman trail. The National Park Service website has a super informative PDF here if you’d like to learn more.

We liked that we didn’t have to take the shuttle and could park at the lot and walk to this trail head. It’s super easy to spot as there are many signs pointing you in the right direction. We followed these brown signs across the lot, along the Virgin River, and across this neat little road. If you know me, then you know I couldn’t help myself and stopped for some pictures lol.

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Like I said, across the street you’ll see the sign for the trailhead. Once you’re on the trail it’s very easy to follow out and back. So everything from this point forward are just pictures and ramblings of a hiker who couldn’t believe she was finally in Utah.

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I loved the small green signs they had scattered throughout the trail. It’s nice to not only enjoy your views, but to also now what you’re actually looking at.

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If you can spot my husband below, you can see this portion of the trail gains elevation rather quickly. He only took about 3 minutes to walk to that point from where I was.

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We were there in the late afternoon and it was pretty quiet. Sometimes I would look behind me and realize it was just us and the trail. It felt like every corner had a beautiful viewpoint and I couldn’t imagine what Angel’s Landing had in store for us the next day.

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It’s difficult to convey in images what the eye sees in person. These hills, canyons, valleys, mountains, or whatever you classify them as are so layered. There are so many different components joined together at different depths. It’s hard to perceive but if you look closely it feels like you could deconstruct the layers and each one would be its own beautiful scenery.

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The sun felt amazing even though it was on its way down. Coming from New York where winter seems to not want to leave it was truly welcomed.

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So we finally made it to the top. The next images are actually from further down the trail in the “loop” portion. The loop itself is fairly small and barely has any elevation changes. If you made it to the top, you’d be cheating yourself if you didn’t do the loop.

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The rest of these are just some pictures I’d like to share from the top of Watchman’s trail. I’m going to post about most of the trails I did in Utah and Arizona throughout the month of May. If you’d like to see some pretty cool pictures check back soon!

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Here’s Tony’s version of Blue Steel lol.

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Below from left to right is Carlos, Nicole, Tony, and myself. We were the #UtahPutah crew on a mission to complete a crazy roadtrip through Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Can you tell I’m so happy to be standing in Zion?

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I can serve some blue steel too!

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Even as I write this blog I cannot believe these pictures are real…

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“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” -John Muir