Friday, September 6, 2013

Moab #5—the Delicate Arch Adventure

[On our river trip we mentioned our plan to hike to Delicate Arch.  Abby, our river guide, told us a story about Delicate Arch.  She said that originally Delicate Arch was supposed to be named Landscape Arch, because of the beautiful landscape behind it.  And Landscape Arch, which is long and very thin, was meant to be called Delicate Arch.  When the first map was printed many years ago the printer made a mistake and juxtaposed those names.  Because printing was so expensive the decision was made to leave it as it was, and now Delicate Arch is that great big huge arch and Landscape Arch is that long thing (dare I say?) delicate arch.  You’ll have to look at the pictures here and in the next post and let me know what you think!]


Many (many, many) years ago Russ and I went to Arches for the first time.  We had planned to go camping over spring break when I was about 5 months pregnant with Cindy Lynn, but it rained all of spring break.  I really wanted to see Arches and so we decided to go ahead and go after spring term, when I was 7 months pregnant. 

It was hot.


Kind of like Hades.

One of the things I remember is the ranger guided hike into Delicate Arch for the sunrise.  I don’t remember it because we went on it, I remember it because at 3:30AM when it was time to get up and leave if we wanted to go on that hike, I was still awake because it was still 100 degrees and my fingers were so uncomfortably swollen from the heat.  So yeah, it didn’t happen.

But the idea of a sunrise hike in to Delicate Arch remained, hidden away in the back of my mind. 

The first year I took the kids to Arches was 2009.  We hiked in to Delicate Arch in the middle of the morning and it was so hot.  While Jason and Josh were off having a great time, I was pretty much pulling 3 8 year olds up the first half of the hike.  But then we got to Delicate Arch and it was so beautiful and amazing that it was all worth it.

The idea of a sunrise hike to Delicate Arch must have stuck in my mind, though, because I found myself wanting to do it when we were in Moab with some of my family in 2010.  I took my kids and a few extras and we had an extraordinary adventure.  I ended up deciding that what made it extraordinary wasn’t the opportunity to see the sun hit Delicate Arch, because that actually took a while after the sunrise.  What was extraordinary was the opportunity to be there completely alone.  It was an amazing experience.  Later that day, when we went to the Delicate Arch Overlook and I saw the thousands of people swarming all around Delicate Arch, I was glad all over again for the experience we’d had.

So of course I wanted to try it again this year.  (Again I give thanks for having friends who go along with my hair-brained ideas!)  We planned and planned, and then our alarm didn’t go off!  Fortunately Ken came and knocked on our bedroom door and woke us up and we jumped out of bed and were off.  (Cindy Lynn, Mahon, and Kate “sat” this one out.)


Alisyn and I agreed all along the way that our hike in the dark was a perfect sacrament meeting talk in the making.  But that would be a whole different blog post.  Maybe another day.

We started off, everyone with their little flashlights or headlamps.  We hiked up, and up, and up.  I’d forgotten there was so much up.  At one point another hiker came bounding past us, but aside from that, we didn’t see any other lights.  After some time we ran back in to the bounding hiker—he was lost.  And before too long we were pretty sure we were lost as well.  This wasn’t a big shock to me, as we had also gotten lost in 2010.  There isn’t a well marked path for most of this hike, but there are cairns of rocks piled at strategic points.  The problem is that in the dark it’s very easy to miss the cairn that shows that the trail turns sharply to the left. 

When we realized that we (and our new hiking friend) were lost, we gathered everyone together and sent out Ken & Josh in different directions looking for the path.  We didn’t find the path, but we did find some students from BYU that had started hiking in the night before, realized that they were lost and it was storming, and had camped out in a little canyon.  Very adventurous!

Eventually we found our way back to a part of the path and with some relief, made our way to Delicate Arch.  We were thrilled when we saw rock stairs because it meant we were in the right place.


The kids all scrambled up and looked through the window that gives the first view of Delicate Arch.



It turns out that Elise was very freaked out by heights. 


But everyone else had a great time.



It was beautiful!




The kids all spent time at the arch.



Russ posed by the cairn that we missed in the dark…


What an adventure.  I LOVED it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, though this time with some bigger flashlights.  And I was sad to turn my back and walk away from this beautiful arch…


1 comment:

  1. That really is an interesting background story... Makes me realize that I don't usually stop to think about the names of landmarks all that often. The original names do make more sense.