Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Arches Day 1

We fancy ourselves an "outdoorsy" family. For as long as we've been married we've talked about taking our kids to as many National Parks as possible. We didn't do much when we lived in Iowa because we were too busy having babies and being broke while Brandon went through those lovely nine years of med school and residency, but we enjoyed what we could in California despite throwing another baby into the mix right in the middle of our four years there. (Have I mentioned I don't do the infant year very well?) 

We went to Rocky Mountain National Park during our cross country move from IA to CA (superficially), spent a few hours at Sequoia National Park after a job interview about a year ago (I still get shivers down my spine when I think that we almost moved to Fresno!), and spent a day hiking one of the islands that are part of Channel Islands National Park last spring break. That's it. (Brandon, however, went on several backpacking trips with the scouts to Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Park while we lived in CA. He's into ultra-light backpacking.)

After 16 years of marriage, 13 years of parenthood and 4 children, it's time to get serious. 

We live in Utah after all. Did you know there are no less than EIGHT National Parks in Utah? So last week we did what any self-respecting Utahan would do for spring break: we rented an RV and went to Arches National Park.  For FOUR FULL DAYS!  We can now say we really did Arches. 

Incidentally, renting the RV has been part of the dream for some time as well. It really was a blast.  Even if we didn't realize it had a heater the first night and froze our tushies off. Even though Will's toothbrush fell into the toilet water that sloshed all over the bathroom floor because we forgot to shut it while driving around. Even though we had a pickle juice volcano (leaking pickle juice + baking soda) in our fridge one day because, again, everything slides all over the place while driving. The kids loved sleeping over the driver's cab, I loved the convenience of a fridge and toilet on the road, Brandon was surprised to find he loved (liked) the bed, and we all loved having outlets for our techy gear at the end of the day. (We are not extremists.)

Get ready for the marathon of all marathon blog posts.  I can't go to a place of natural beauty with my family and not spend the majority of the time taking pictures.  

This is just DAY 1. We hiked to Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. A little over 4 miles there and back, it was the longest hike of the entire trip. 

First, the "truck house" as Rachael called it:
Up in the tree house:
 Everybody seemed to take a turn on Brandon's ukelele:
At the RV park the first morning, putting together a remote control helicopter Will got for his birthday:
 The Visitor Center:

We couldn't leave Bob behind:
Climbing around after lunch, before the hike:

Elizabeth was pretty excited about catching a bunch of red ants:

Time to get moving:

Vertical wall:

Mini sand dune:

Tunnel Arch:

Landscape Arch:

 We took a little snack break and the chipmunks started to show up:
We almost turned back after Landscape Arch, wondering if Elizabeth would make it without undo whining if we decided to double our trip from 2 to 4 miles by going on to Double O Arch. She did skin her knee and need some babying from Mom, but we were so glad we went all the way to Double O because the next part of the hike was so gorgeous:
At this point there was no clear, defined trail, only cairns guiding us in the right direction. This part of the trail took us to the top of those rocks in this picture below:
A cairn:
Looking back once we got to the top: 

Elizabeth traveling along a fin:
This point was the highlight of the entire hike:

Kate was saying she wished she could fly:

Brandon was enamored with all the bonsai like trees everywhere:

Double O Arch:

My favorite:

Heading back:

This shot gives a better perspective of that blob of rocks we first climbed on our way to Double O:

Home again, home again:

Going, going . . .


  1. I told you that you shouldn't move to Fresno -- you're welcome.

    If you haven't read Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, you should. (It's about Arches.) He concludes the book with an observation: “No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”

  2. These are fabulous pictures. Amazing to look at.


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