Today I am going to be talking about some of the hikes and beautiful sites we saw in Utah (essentially the worst parts of our trip). I will talk about the Delicate Arch, the Double Arch, Mesa Arch and the sunset, and the Little Wild Horse slot canyon.
Arches National Park: Delicate Arch
The Delicate Arch is the first arch that we saw. It was a huge majestic big site with a beautiful background with a canyon below. Though it was pretty, it was very hot, and crowded. There was a huge line to stand next to it and take a picture, but that doesn’t seem worth it. Sure, it was definitely cool, and I would recommend going, but its not as grand as you might expect.
The hike to the Delicate Arch, was AWFUL! Because of the altitude, you get winded by running 50 ft…so, walking the 3 miles at an upward slope is surprisingly hard, not including the heat. We started the hike around 8:00am to try to avoid the heat, but even at 8:00 it is very hot (the mid 90s) and the temperature only continues to go up from there. To make things worse, on the way back, around 10ish, I really had to go to the bathroom, and there weren’t any toilets available until we made it back to the RV. That meant that I had to endure around an hour of walking until we finally had access to a lavatory. So I would not want to do that ever again.
Arches National Park: Double Arch
The Double Arch was a much better experience then the Delicate Arch. It was better for multiple reasons, first of which is that it is in the shade! In a hundred degree weather, shade makes a huge difference and shade is better for pictures. Another reason, is that the Double Arch wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Delicate Arch and as a result we were able to get a lot of great pictures without people. It’s a big space, so even if it was a particularly crowded day, you wouldn’t be too close together and would be able to maintain social distancing laws! The final reason, (and in my opinion the deal breaker) is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO HIKE THERE!!! To get there, you just park, and then walk around 60ft. of flat ground, so it’s a great spot for a hot day. In conclusion, I think that the Double Arch was my favorite place to go in this blog post.
FUN FACT: That day, in the evening, we re-watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and we realized that the beginning scene was shot at the Double Arch. So, if you do go, you should watch the first clip.
Canyonlands National Park: Mesa Arch and the Sunset
We went to see the Mesa arch on our last day in Utah. Instead of going in the early morning and seeing the famous sunrise underneath the arch, we went in the afternoon, near sun down, when it was cooler. This saved us from having to wake up at 4:30am, and the horror of Alexander’s morning stench. If you are going to go see the Mesa arch, I would recommend also seeing it at sundown, because from what I’ve heard in the morning it is so crowded that there are rows and rows of photographers trying to get a picture, so you might have to go even an hour earlier to get a good spot. To top that all off, if you do go in the morning you have to go EARLY, and in my eyes, no view is worth a good night of sleep unless you somehow manage to go into a book, and get to see things like the Yellow Brick Road or Hogwarts (the movie versions don’t count). The arch itself is, in my opinion, not as impressive as its said to be, but we did see it at sun down rather then sunrise. Though it is not quite as exciting as I thought it would be, it is still a must-see and is a majestic sight with the red valley underneath it and the horizon just in the middle of the arch.
The hike is short and mostly down hill on the way to the Arch. It is short enough that I wouldn’t even really consider it a hike, its more of a walk. Unfortunately, it is not just a walk in the park (technically it is a walk in the park because it’s a National Park, but I am trying to say that just because, I consider it a walk does not mean that it won’t necessarily be super easy). There are some steeper parts, and the trail isn’t always super clear on where to go, but it will most likely be pretty crowded so it shouldn’t be too hard to find your way.
On the way there you might also see some interesting wildlife. Sydney spotted a bunny with huge ears. The ears were so big that, at first, Sydney thought she had spotted a Jackalope (half antelope, half bunny…essentially a rabbit with oversized ears and horns). And she demanded $100 because our parents told us back in Montana, that the first person to spot a Jackalope would get $100. When we pointed out to Sydney that the bunny didn’t have horns, she said that maybe they were just growing and that the Jackalope had shed its horns for the year, similar to some types of deer. That’s why Jackalopes have never been spotted in the wild. In a travesty of justice, Sydney didn’t get paid, but she did get some good pictures.
We ended our day by parking our RV and watching the sunset with take-out dinner from a pizza restaurant. Everybody but me brought lawn chairs out and sat on them and ate dinner while watching the beautiful sunset. But I downright refused to eat outside, because I am still fully convinced that it is illegal to eat food in a National Park, and just because you CAN get away with it doesn’t mean you should. If I said I wanted to cheat on my college applications because I COULD get away with it, doesn’t mean I WOULD, because it’s ILLEGAL, and I have a strong moral compass.
Slot Canyon: Little Wild Horse
The first hike we did in Utah was actually not in a national park, it was in a slot canyon called Little Wild Horse. A slot canyon is essentially a canyon, but on a much smaller scale. The name Little Wild Horse is a very misleading name because it implies a small area, but in fact the whole hike was not at all small. The total hike was 8 miles and in the Utah heat, constantly having to climb over rocks and other things at elevation, was going to be a little too long for us. Our original plan was to go 6 miles (3 out and 3 back) instead of doing the 8 mile loop, but unfortunately all of the girls in our family weren’t feeling well, and we thought that some of us might have had heat exhaustion. So we turned around at the 1.5 mile mark and ended up doing 3 miles instead of 6, while the boys went and did a total of 5.5 miles.
The canyon itself was beautiful, but I had a hard time appreciating it because I got a little bit claustrophobic in there. At one point, it was so narrow that you had to turn sideways to fit through and if you were carrying a big enough backpack you probably coundn’t make it through. Unfortunately while we were walking through the narrow parts, at one point we saw a boulder wedged firmly into the slot and I had the misfortune of being a Belfiore and was told the story of the guy who was hiking alone in a similar canyon, when a big rock fell down and crushed his arm, trapping him there. He was stuck there for 4 days, until he finally cut his arm off to get back. So you can imagine my shock and horror of being in a similar canyon, considering the fact that if that happened to me, my family would probably leave me there to die (with no knife). That didn’t help much with my claustrophobia.
Those were the hikes that we went on when we were in Utah, those were the hikes where I struggled.