You noticed we didn't have anything about Moab on The Salt Project and we decided to do something about it. The last time I had been in Moab it was June 2013. Now, part of the reason I have never posted these pictures was because the trip ended in a very CRAZY, stressful, expensive way. I guess I had partly blocked out the memories. It's making me feel all sorts of feelings just thinking about it. Let me take you back a few years. (Insert dramatic music.)
My Aiko was 18 months and my Orion was 2 months, it was my first road trip with TWO babies. Honestly, I hadn't been a mom for very long, so two made it all the more crazy. For the 5 hour drive I decided to bring along my own Mama as backup, since my husband couldn't come. I had kind of invited myself along for my In-Laws Reunion trip. Luckily, they didn't mind. With x3 Grandparents on hand I knew it would be a successful trip.
The drive went completely fine. We made a stop in Wellington at a dreamy little park.
I'm not quite sure where this is in Wellington, but keep your eye out. Just think BONES!
If you've ever made your way to Moab, you'll know the drive up to the town is amazing. I feel like the red rocks are just luring you into their valley.
Be sure to bring your bikes! The Bar M Trail starts outside of Moab and takes you all the way into town. It's paved and I've done it once in extremely windy April conditions. I figured June would be a little bit better.
We stayed at the Moab Valley Inn. My father-in law Tom, is actually a tour guide for Southern Utah Scenic Tours and has spent his entire life in the National Parks. So he knows all the places to stay and what to do.
We only had 1 day for Arches National Park, so Tour Guide Tom had it all planned out.
After we got settled in, I conferred with my Yelp app for dinner ideas. We decided on Milt's Stop and Eat.
It's a popular Mom & Pop kind of place.
The food was good and the place was hopping.
You can also sit outside under a big shady tree, if you can find a spot!
After a good night's sleep, we were ready for Arches National Park. Be sure to stop and get a Stamp at the Visitors Center!
Hike Landscape Arch
If you REALLY want to get out and explore Arches, you need to at least hike Landscape Arch. It's located at the far end of the park in the Devils Garden Trailhead. Tour Guide Tom says it's a must and he takes people of all ages. Landscape Arch is the longest Arch on the planet. Rumor has it, sometime in the next 50-100 years the arch will fall. So add this to your Bucket List!
Landscape Arch is an easy hike and very popular. It's 1.6 miles round trip and takes about 30 to 60 minutes. It's pretty flat too. Bathrooms are at the entrance.
In our group we had people of all ages, from 2 month old babies to people in their 70s.
Tyler (6) hiked the whole way.
Plenty of lizards can be found along the hike.
Landscape Arch truly is amazing to see.
The hike goes on further to Double O Arch and a few other hikes. We decided just to watch others hike out.
All along the trail are areas for fun climbing for kids.
Pretty sure everyone takes a picture of this tree on their way out.
After our hike, we were ready for lunch. Tour Guide Tom suggested the Picnic Area near Balance Rock. He says it's not quite as busy as the others. There are bathrooms, shade and a great view Balance Rock.
After lunch, we decided to drive to many of the Viewpoints in Arches. The kids weren't really up for another hike so we drove to Delicate Arch, Fiery Furnace, Salt Valley Overlook, The Windows Section.
The Windows Section
This place is a must. Whether it's just driving through or getting out and hiking.
If you don't have time, you can just drive through The Windows Section. It's another popular spot and parking is sometimes hard to find. This area has many short hikes like Cove of Caves, Double Arch, North Window, South Window and Turret Arch.
We didn't actually hike around this time so all my photos are from the car at this point. (I have walked all of these trails before we had kids.)
It's kind of amazing you can view everything from your car window.
Be sure to stop by and hike or view Delicate Arch. On this trip, we just decided to walk to the viewpoint. It's a short walk with bathrooms nearby. I don't have any pictures from the viewpoint, but I do have these photos when we hiked to Delicate Arch from a few years before.
You for sure need to hike this at least once in your life. This is THE arch on all the license plates and it's the icon of Utah. It's a 3 mile round trip hike and it's usually crowded.This photo is during Spring Break, so you can see how busy it gets. (above)
There is something magical about being under an arch. I've heard of people getting married or engaged under the arch. Who wouldn't?!
The Delicate Arch hike isn't strenuous, as I've seen many kids and all sorts of people hike this. There is some slickrock that you walk up. There are also cliffs on one edge of the hike, but there's plenty of walking space. Plan on at least 1.5 hours or more to hike. Lots of people take picnics and eat at the base of the Arch. Be sure to check out the petroglyphs.
After all this excitement, we decided to call it a day.
Be sure to get a hotel that has a pool, because it's HOT in Moab in the middle of the summer.
So you see, you can pack in all of Arches National Park in one day, or you can totally spread it all out.
The town is touristy and filled with plenty of awesome places to eat. Had we more time, I would have liked to hiked to Delicate or a few of the other hikes.
The Canyonlands or Bust.
The next day we packed it up to head out to The Canyonlands. (Totally doable for half day or less.)
On our way out, we stopped at my favorite Rock Shop. Because, if you know me at all you know I love me some good rocks.
We were just outside of Moab when the car started making some funky sounds that eventually ended with us sitting on the side of the road, looking a lot like this.
I tried to have a really good attitude and laugh all about it. And it WAS funny.
Luckily, we had two cars, so one car took both grandmas, Aiko and Tyler and started driving home. While Tour Guide Tom, little 2 month old Orion and I took the long ride home. We ended up being towed 2 hours away, in the wrong direction, to Grand Junction, Colorado (it was the closest dealership.) Luckily, our insurance paid for the tow and we did get the SWEETEST tow truck man. I can't remember his name, but he was extremely helpful through it all.
I spent the whole two hour drive checking out all the used cars we might buy in Grand Junction. We even met the tow man's mom and she allowed us to keep all our luggage at her house while we pitifully coasted my car to the dealership. Unluckily, I ended up buying a brand new car. I say unluckily, because we had just purchased our lemon car like 6 months before. To make matters worse, I had to have my father-in-law co-sign with me, because see, this stay at home mama didn't make any money. What made it even more stressful is that my lemon car was only under my husband's name, who was in Texas at the time at a conference, so I couldn't even trade in my lemon car. We ended up leaving our lemon car in the dealership lot because we couldn't do anything without my husband actually being there. Which meant, we would have to come back for it. I mean...TALK ABOUT STRESSFUL! By the time we left it was after 6pm. I wasn't even excited about a new car, I just wanted to get home! I remember we ate Fish and Chips at Red Lobster. Luckily, little Orion was such a trooper, I'm surprised I could even nurse him with all this craziness.
I remember stopping somewhere to get gas and I was like "Tour Guide Tom, do you smell that burning?" He was like "Harmony, that's a new car smell." Tells ya how many times I've owned a brand new car.
We finally got home around 2 AM that night. I was super lucky and thankful that I had Tour Guide Tom through it all, because HELLO, talk about crazy!
So, while it's taken me a few years to write out this story, I do STILL love Moab and Arches National Park. I'll be back soon.
But this time, I'm bringing my husband and a new car.
- Don't buy a lemon car.