UTAH!!! Vacation time!!!! We had originally planned to go back to Playa Del Carmen this year, for our 3-year anniversary in October. But, we changed our minds somewhere along the way, and opted for a vacation unlike any vacation we've ever had! It really worked out for the best, as October will be my busiest wedding month to date! AHH!!
While relaxing on the sandy beaches of Mexico, sipping something fruity and reading book after book would've been amazing again... The breathtaking beauty of Utah was quite the perfect alternative. The endless hiking day after day was pretty exhausting, but well worth the amazingness we saw - and definitely worth the photos I snapped!!
Six days of 3 national parks was the plan, and that's exactly what we did. Day one was July 26, my birthday! We spent that day in Arches National Park, and I have to say, none of my birthdays past, while all wonderful, were ever spent in such a magical place as this!!
Getting to Arches on our trip meant a 6 hour one-way drive on the first day. But there was one hike in particular that led us there, one we had to do, regardless of the long drive. The hike to get us to the famous, Delicate Arch. If you don't know the name, trust me, you'll recognize it in photos. Our trail map rated the hike to Delicate Arch as "Strenuous" - can I just say how true that was. Definitely worth it! But I can assure you, there were a lot of breaks, a lot of holding my knees, and a lot of sucking air.
Aside from the glorious views - the people! The overall park wasn't really all that crowded, but the people we met along the trail to Delicate Arch were wonderful. So many different walks of life, so much kindness, so many accents! A British lady encouraged me on our way up that if she could survive that hike at double my age and half my muscle - then I could definitely make it! The people we encouraged on our way back down (which was A LOT easier, btw) were all sooo appreciative of the fellow support. It was a strong reminder that in life, we're all in it together!! It was a great feeling! I love nice people!!!
Here is a shot of the hardest part of the hike to Delicate Arch. This photo does no justice. But this was a straight uphill boulder/rock/slick-disaster. Ha. It was brutal.
Obviously we made it to the top - and after quite a big longer, we arrived...
The long-awaited photo of SUCCESS I so desperately wanted!! :)
After we conquered the Delicate Arch we headed back into Moab for some lunch. Definitely needed refueling! We easily made the executive decision that since we only had that one day, instead of tackling another longish hike - we'd instead hit as many short hikes as possible until dark! The nice part, in addition to seeing as much as possible, was that every other hike was practically deserted!!
We started with Balanced Rock. This hike was super easy - and super awesome. Equally interesting as well as peaceful. We felt and acted like kids again. Wes climbed, took selfies on the side of a boulder. Yep. You read that right. I explored and let myself smile at the simplest of things. We saw a wild hare! I found a penny!
Yep. That's my husband. Taking a selfie on the side of a boulder.
We scooted on to Double Arch - another easy, short hike that led to the base of this magnificent arch!
A couple random spots we stopped at -
Sand Dune Arch - this place was hands down my second favorite after Delicate in the entire Arches National Park. And honestly, one of my favorite hikes of the entire trip. Soooo unexpected. When we first pulled up, the sunlight was getting into that golden phase that makes every photographers heart go into double thumps. And that golden sun lit up those rocks like nothing I had ever seen. This shot was taken as soon as I stepped out of our car rental car...
That's me down there, in the bottom left - taking a photo I can't even believe is real life.
We walked in between that amazingness above, to find this....
Once inside, I couldn't believe how peaceful it was - how perfectly still. You couldn't even hear your own footsteps because the sand was so soft. And that sand?! Everywhere. The glow of it.
Something in this arch felt magical, and I can still completely recall that feeling when I look at the photos.
One of our last stops was called Skyline Arch. Easy and flat hike - which was great, because by this point, this old girl was getting pretty tired! :)