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!