Utah Pt. 2

After recovering from the adventures of getting caught in a flash flood (you can read about it here ) we decided to take Thursday nice and easy.... or so we thought. The night before, we had a great chat with a couple hikers from our campsite and they recommended we hike Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory Bridge. So that's exactly what we did! We drove to the trail head which is nestled next to the Colorado River and conveniently located at the start of the Colorado Scenic By-way. This hike was about 5-6 miles roundtrip and had some shaded parts which as nice considering the sun and the heat were out in full force that morning. It was a beautiful hike through the canyon which had several river crossings (thank goodness for my $8 water shoes from Walmart). There were very few people on this trail, I'm talking like maybe 4-6 but we lost them pretty quickly so it was nice to feel like we were the only ones there. What amazed me about Utah the most was the absolute silence you felt on some of these hikes. Silence has become a treasured gift to me, I mean I yearn for silence sometimes! There is nothing more beautiful than standing in the middle of a canyon surrounded by sandstone cliffs and nothing but silence. Anyways I'm sure I made some noise as I dragged myself for what seemed like forever in 40 degree heat. We reached the end where you could literally go no further. We had the pleasure of looking up at Morning Glory Bridge, which is actually is the 6th longest natural rock span in the US, stretching 243 ft across. You could hear the river trickling through the cracks in the cliffs we leaned against as it pooled at our feet, again so peaceful and beautiful. We made the hike back, which at one point I thought we were lost and actually had one of those moments where everything is in slow-motion, and you have that ringing in your ears, haha I'm sure I over panicked but to be fair, we did take a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong side of the river and had to backtrack. It's scary out there and we were reminded of how easily things can go wrong as we were welcomed at the trailhead with a plaque in memory of 2 young mountain bikers who went missing and didn't make it out 20 years ago, they're bodies weren't found for 16 days. Humbled by that reminder we made it out alive, wet shoes and socks (not me, just Myles).

We then drove the U-128 (Colorado Scenic By-way) 44miles to the ghost town of Cisco and back. We stopped along the way to snap some photos of the river as it had turned red after the previous day's storm. It ran a dark orange-red colour for 10 miles because of how much it rained, it was also running very high. The drive was unbelievable, I felt like I was in a western movie! We took photos at Castle and Professor Valley which are in many famous western Movies such as Rio Grande and Wagon Master as well as many commercials. Cisco is an abandoned town littered with shacks and broken down vehicles. Upon coming over the hill into the town, there was a dead deer with vultures eating it, I kid you not, so stereotypical of creepy towns in the movies but it actually happened. It was actually quite creepy (I locked the doors) and at one point I swear I saw someone walking through an old motor home, my eyes were probably just playing tricks on me but still I was scared haha! After getting lost trying to turn around, we made the drive back and planned to get something to eat then head up to hike Corona Arch for the sunset. Well... we took a little too long eating tacos at a delicious stop-and-eat called Milt's and missed the sunset, classic. But we decided to drive to the trail head and see if we could make it before sundown. We literally ran the entire hike as the sun was setting quickly and there was a bit of lightening. This hike was awesome as well, we were the only ones, again the complete silence you experience while out there is just something else; the steel cables and super sketchy ladders you had to use made it fun as well. We made it to Corona Arch at dusk and couldn't help but to disrupt the silence by letting out a few shouts just to get that echo back ;) This arch was huge and located at the curve of a huge bowl. You should Google Corona Arch Swing, as dangerous and dumb as it seems, it's something that we would probably pay to do if it were still legal. We marvelled for a bit before almost getting dive bombed from some sort of bird. We then realized it was getting really dark really fast, like really fast. We ran the whole way back, the bats that were starting to swarm made us run a little faster! We made it back to the car as complete darkness fell, phewf. After eating out again, (we literally cooked once) we headed back up to Arches National Park at about 1am to see if we could get some astro shots. Unfortunately it was a full moon as well as some overcast which caused for unbelievably bright conditions even in the dead of night. We drove to Balanced Rock and Panorama Point to see if we could get anything but it was just too bright out even as 2am approached. 

On Friday we were exhausted so we decided to drive to CanyonLands National Park. We stopped at Dead Horse Point State Park which is the most photographed scenic vista in the world (crazy!). Legend has it, many years ago cowboys used the point to corral wild mustangs who roamed the mesa top. For some reason at one point the horses were left there and died of starvation and dehydration with a view of the Colorado River 2000ft below. Quite crazy when you're standing there imagining that happening.  We drove the Island in the Sky Portion of the park (just as the name describes it) and then hiked to Mesa Arch which is famous for being photographed at sunrise (we were far to tired to wake up for a sunrise hike). It was different than all the other arches we had seen as the crowds were insane and there was a sheer cliff right on the other side of it. Everything aside, still beautiful and absolutely crazy that we have seen pictures of people standing on top of it! We continued driving to the trail head of Upheaval Crater. We chose one of the shorter hikes as it was just far to hot outside to be hiking. This hike has zero shade and was straight up. We emerged to look down on a massive crater 3 miles across and 1000ft deep with a 750ft mountain made of salt in the middle. Still a mystery how this occurred but it was cool to see.

We drove back to camp after that and lounged in the pool to cool down. We thought about wrapping up our trip at this point but couldn't help but to drive back out to Arches National Park that evening for a few last minute hikes. We stopped and hiked the short Sand Dune hike which proved to be no mistake. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park, as we climbed between massive fins on either side in deep orange sand. This arch recently had a section collapse which was cool to see how it happened but also cool to be able to see it before it is completely destroyed. We then continued driving as far as we could into the park before coming to the trail head of Landscape Arch, Devil's Garden and the Fiery Furnace. Sadly the Fiery Furnace trail requires a special permit which are rarely given out or a guided hike by an experienced ranger, which were also all sold out. It is so dangerous it is illegal to enter this part of the park without a permit or guide, I so badly wanted to see it! Anyways, we proceeded to hike to Landscape arch which is the longest natural arch in the world spanning 290ft with the thinnest section only 6 ft thick. It looked as if it were going to fall at any second. We chose to forego hiking through Devil's Garden as it was getting dark again and we didn't want to get stuck out there in no-man's land. 

This pretty much concluded our stay in Moab, Utah. It was unbelievable and I wish everyone could experience the things we saw and the hikes we went on. We plan on returning again in the future and hiking many more trails and seeing many more arches. 

The drive home (30 hours) led us on a detour several hours long because Myles wanted to see the Bonneville Salt Flats. I won't lie, it was pretty cool, super flat and super salty, nothing like you've ever seen. I may or may not have tasted the ground... it was very salty indeed. Homeward led us through Utah, Nevada, Idaho where we slept in a truck stop at 2am, Oregon, Washington, and finally home...4652km in total. It was an amazing time away with spectacular views and crazy adventures together, wouldn't trade it for anything (although maybe I'm ready for a margarita on a beach somewhere in Mexico) Until the next adventure...

Utah Pt. 1

Over the summer, Myles and I didn't get to adventure much because we both worked. But we were lucky enough to have one week off and we both felt we desperately needed to head out somewhere new and exciting. I had Utah in my mind for sometime but honestly I had no idea what it was really like. All I knew was from photos on Instagram and mommy-bloggers I follow. Getting closer to our week off I started to do some research and Utah seemed like the perfect adventure for us! A 19 hour drive down through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and then finally Utah seemed like a fun idea! I had my heart set on visiting Arches National Park (over 2000 natural arches), so when looking for places to stay I found a campsite in Moab, a small outdoorsy town only a 3 minute drive from the entrance to the park. Booking Moab Valley RV Resort was the best decision, it had a pool, showers, wifi, and covered tent pads. 

It was quite the crazy week before we left; I was finishing up working as a 1-1 support worker at a summer camp, Myles was working, my sister was getting married and family was coming in from out of town. It was WILD! Seriously the week before feels like a blur, Thursday (Aug 20) I got off work, drove to the ferries and picked up my Dad and brother, Friday I hitched a ride to work while my Dad and brother took my car out to help my sister prepare for the wedding, got home from work and went straight to the dinner rehearsal. Woke up the next day, photographed AND was a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding, woke up Sunday and drove my family back to the ferry terminal, then raced to my in-laws to say goodbye to my sister-in-law who was moving to Paris for 10 months.... THEN finally home to pack as we were leaving the next morning at 6am. Phew!

Anyways we (I mean Myles) drove the long and mostly boring (not going to lie) drive through central Washington, northeastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho, until arriving in Salt Lake City at midnight. We booked a cute little apartment through AirBnB because the thought of travelling another 5 hours just was torture. We had a wonderful sleep in a real bed just one block from Temple Square. The next day we toured Temple Square and admired the building and grounds before having lunch on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We then hopped back in the car and drove the remaining 4 hours to our campsite in Moab. We arrived to a heatwave and when I say heat wave I mean it was even too hot for me. (If you know me, it's never hot enough, I long for 40 + degree weather) We set up camp, went and bought some groceries, then had a well deserved nap. 

Wednesday morning we woke up and drove into Arches National Park despite the rain and dreary skies. (We didn't drive 19 hours to hide in our tent from the rain) We stopped at Park Avenue first which had an amazing view, I honestly couldn't believe my eyes at the landscape it was so different and so beautiful it didn't seem real. The size of the rock formations far exceed what the pictures captured, it's unexplainable... I just wish everyone could experience the beauty we saw! I honestly had to be pulled away from the first place we stopped because I just couldn't wrap my head around what I was looking at. We then drove some more into the park (which is no actual park, it's more of a 2 way road straight into the desert....no power lines, no food stops.. nothing) until we got to the parking lot for our next hike to The Windows, two side by side arches. The Windows consisted of 2 different hikes; the first was more for tourists who didn't want to really hike at all, it was a walkway that got you close enough to the two windows (arches) to take a photo and leave. The second option was to hike around the backside of the arches which was a less crowded route, we chose that one. Utah's national parks have their trails marked with flat rocks stacked on top of one another (cairns) because there aren't actually any trails.... this was our first experience of having to be diligent of following those stacks or risk getting lost. We hiked around the back side in complete silence just the two of us, it's incredible how quiet it can get out there, it's wonderful! After quite a treacherous climb up into the arch we stood in amazement of being directly underneath one of these magnificent arches. Getting down was another story.....haha let's just say terrified-of-heights-Myles had a fun time with that one! We then hiked from The Windows over to Double Arch which was a bit crowded as well because it was relatively easy to get to. We climbed up higher than we should have (super funny iphone video of Myles trying to get down) and just took it all in. Next we headed to Balanced Rock. This wasn't a hike, just a pull off the side of the road and walk to type deal. This was crazy, a massive rock (the size of 3 school buses) balanced precariously on a thin section of rock a total of 128ft tall. It looked as if I touched it (which I did) it would come tumbling down.

For our big hike of the day we headed to the parking lot of Delicate Arch, a 65 foot tall free standing arch that happens to be the most famous in the park. This 5km hike was listed as strenuous and now we know why! The sky had cleared up and we obeyed signs of bringing enough water and food to survive the night if you were to get lost. (Fact: this park often reaches over 40 degrees with little to no shade) The hike started out nice and level until it ascended up a steep rock face and across a thin rock ledge before rounding the corner into a bowl type oval which lead to the arch. It was phenomenal, we stayed for quite some time and then it started to rain, and rain, and rain. Rain like I have never seen, it was bouncing off the ground and that's when we decided it was best to leave. Carefully walking across the ledge and back to the sandy trail we were stopped in our tracks because there was no more trail anymore.... it was completely under water and getting deeper by the minute. At first we're laughing thinking oh man first day here and this is what happens.... then you look up and realize the cliffs above you are beginning to turn into waterfalls, no exaggeration here. I had the GoPro out at first trying to document this crazy situation but it actually got to the point where we were faced with the decision of running from the water and wading through it or to find a safe spot and wait it out. We decided to run... well because everyone else was and the water was getting deep and our trail markers were disappearing under water. So we ran, the water literally pooling at our ankles, then to our shins... we ran faster... and kept in a group with other stranded hikers. We then got to a point where our trail was a raging river, no joke, it had rapids... the only way across was to jump. One by one we jumped across holding on to each other just incase. Unfortunately there was an elderly couple trapped as well so we all made a human chain and pulled the couple across (probably the scariest moment when the older gentleman almost pulled myles into the water). The journey continued down hill and we were met with more deep water and this time the only option was to wade through it. We eventually made it down safe where we were greeted with a park ranger who was evacuating the park because one section of the parking lot was under 3-4 ft of water and people were stranded. We had no change of clothes so we changed out of our soaking wet clothes and wrapped around two towels we had in the car (hallelujah!) and quickly tried to leave. But we were met with a washed out road that we could not pass through, so back to the parking lot it was. We hunkered down with food and water and waited until the ranger told us it was safe. When we were given the go ahead to leave he warned us to get out and not come back today.... don't drive too fast because you'll flood your engine and don't drive too slow or else the water may take you. HA! Oh man... anyways we made it. Funny side note... after that crazy experience we saw the storm passing and the sun come out so I made Myles pull over on the side of the road so I could get out and take a photo. No shoes or socks, no pants, no shirt... just a towel wrapped around me... then a man pulled up behind us in his car and started chatting me up. I was completely weirded out but this man insisted on chatting and then we realized he was from BC... then from the car... (only wearing boxers) Myles shouts Mr. Nociar! Yes... his science teacher from Fleetwood Park, in the middle of the desert, as I introduce myself as Myles' wife wearing only a towel (what a fine moment). As he walked towards Myles in the car, he panicked and spilled an entire can of Pringles onto his lap (another fine moment of trying to hide your boxers and spilled Pringles from your high school teacher). Although incredibly embarrassed we are so glad this chance meeting occurred because Mr. Nociar told us about a hike that we would have never known about and it turned out to be our favourite!

After getting back to our campsite and drying off, we headed out for dinner at a local diner because really who's cooking after a day like that?!

Pt.2 coming soon!