It felt like a late wake up this morning. The sun was bright when I climbed out of my hammock to make coffee. When I eventually checked my phone (I can’t tell you how nice it was that this wasn’t the first thing I checked), to my surprise it was only 6:10. The day begins early when the rythym of the sun and not the alarm serves as my guide.
After packing up and some bagels, we began our drive to Arches National Park in Utah.
Utah is a mix of rock and more rock. Whether the rock was set in brown terrain or thick with iron that turned it red- the rock was consistent and voracious. The view remained vast and open.
The speed limit was 80. Even at that speed people flew past me. There were a few stretches that we had to stop to fill up with gas even with close to a full tank because the next gas station was over 100 miles away.
No cell phone service most of the day, either. Only in small pockets did we pick up service and we were lucky to be able to sing Happy Birthday to my sister in one of those areas!
Arches National Park was exactly halfway between Gunnison and campground number three. The red rock and natural arches were immediate and everywhere once you drive into the park.
Sometimes the rock stacked high in clumps and other times looked like it could topple at any moment. The rock was formed from years of rock, erosion, salt and wind.
On this bright blue, hot day it was hard to imagine the force of nature that had to occur to create these natural wonders.
We drove straight to Delicate Arch. This was the one we wanted to see. It is the one on the Utah license plate.
After winding some miles through the park, we came to the parking lot for this arch. The hike was three miles round trip. Perfect break after being in the car about four hours!
It was hot. Like over 100 degrees hot. Quickly we realized this short hike wasn’t so short or so easy! We rationed our water and had to encourage the kids (and ourselves) to keep going. The sun and wind were constant and the hike was strenuous to say the least!
We passed other people and they continued to remark how worth it the hike was to see the arch.
And they were right.
Although the name of this arch is Delicate Arch, it seemed a misnomer. This arch stood proud and strong with its determined arc in the midst of wind and sun.
At the beginning of the hike, we passed a woman who told Hannah it was only a short distance to the arch. This was clearly wrong. However, it did keep Hannah going yet she was mad. However, on the way back to the car- she did the same thing to others just beginning the hike. So, she kept the tradition alive!
On our way back to the car, we passed others. Isaac looked at a boy about his age and said, “Man, totally worth it – once in a lifetime view.” Which was exactly what a woman we passed on the hike in said to him.
Made my heart smile.
Back in the car we made our way another four hours into Dixie National Forest to Pine Lake Campground.
The drive was remote and off the main road. Multiple times we double checked our GPS to the map to make sure we were going the right way.
At one point, we were concerned it would be too isolated. For being a main route to both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, the road was poorly marked and we passed maybe three cars.
However, we continued and found the best campground of the trip so far in Pine Lake.