Utah / Arizona Park Tour 2016 -Part 4

Part 4 of our trip settled us into Moab, UT for two nights.  There was something relieving about checking into a hotel knowing we were going to be there and not have to repack our van the next morning.   This also gave us so much more room in the van without all our luggage.

The first night, we checked into a Super 8 on the north end of town.   This place is nice and has an outdoor pool.   It was $140 / night which is way more than I like to pay per night but that’s what you get in a major touristy town 5 minutes from Arches NP.  I have to say, Moab is for sure in my top-5 towns in America.    (That would make an interesting post at a future time)

After unpacking our van, we were starving and headed into town for a nice dinner.  There are so many great options, but we chose The Spoke on Center.  What a perfect pick this was.  It was on the expensive side but high quality brewpub type food.   My chorizo meatloaf was off the charts.  My daughter got a simple plate of mac-n-chees and it was the best any of us have ever had.

The next morning, we made the easy drive to Arches.  It’s fun being so close to the park for a change.  This park gets really busy too so be prepared for long lines getting through main gate.   We were able to bypass the gate since I have an annual park pass.  We stopped on the way in to take more senior pictures of Heidie.  I used the time to climb and explore some big rock formations with my son.

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Our next stop was at an area called The Windows.  North and South Window formations are a very short hike and well worth the effort.  While you are there, see Double Arch.

Balancing rock is also a short .3 hike from the parking area.  It’s worth stating, parking can be total chaos at these popular locations.

Our final hike of the day was a rigorous hike to the iconic Delicate Arch.   The trail map says 1.5 miles each way.   This hike felt more like 3 miles each way.   Sadly, we couldn’t have picked a worse time of the day to hike.   1:30 in the afternoon is not the right time to hike.   It was over 90 degrees and uphill all the way to the arch.   If I had it to do over again, I would roust everyone out of bed and be hiking by 7am.   I met a guy at our hotel who got his wife and kids up at 4am to be hiking and watch the sunrise.  You need to determine what’s right for your family.  The reward at the top of this hike was so worth the effort in spite of the heat.   We all felt like we had accomplished something significant.   You can see the picture of Heidie below, she is totally worn out looking.  However, her face is full of energy again in the picture of her resting her arm on the arch.   I think it recharged us all.  If you are afraid of heights, this hike may not be for you.

After this hike, we were all excited to head back to the hotel and take a swim in the pool.  This was a good move to stay two nights.   After swimming, we ate dinner and then leisurely browsed the many t-shirt stores, art galleries and curio shops.   The kids used some of their souvenir money to buy Gelato too.

Day 2 in Moab:  We did our final pack up and loaded the van.  The Island in the Sky Visitor Center at Canyonlands National Park was a 40 minute drive from Moab.   The interesting thing about this visitor center, is the amazing view directly across the street.   Even a person not capable of hiking, could walk across the street to enjoy the fantastic views.

The next stop not to miss is the short .25 mile hike to Mesa Arch.  This can get pretty crowded too but nothing like Delicate Arch.

The final hike we did was the 1.6 mile round-trip hike to White Rim overlook.  We pretty much had this trail to ourselves.  This hike was a top-3 highlight for our whole trip.   I just loved this easy hike which ended at the most remarkable vista overlooking canyons that are the park’s namesake.

I could have sat doing my best John Muir imitation soaking in this scene for hours.  However, In order to see everything we wanted to see and make it to our next hotel, we needed to get on the road.   It was a 6 hour drive down to Chambers, AZ.    The long road trip south into Arizona was over bad / bumpy road.   We had a GPS snafu where she told to make a turn that we shouldn’t have made.   Because there was no cell phone service, I was unable to verify the advice.   My next post will pick up in Chambers, AZ and our visit to Petrified Forrest.

 

 

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