I dream about giving up the city a lot. Trading in my entire life here for one that’s wholly about the outdoors. As I’m sure we all have. But I never wanted any of the in between crap. I need to be in the city or extremely not. When it comes down to it I know I’ll never leave and the one thing I wish you’d see more people say on this big old place the ~ internet ~ is that you don’t have to live in a van! You don’t need to be wholly nomadic or give up your job or any of that. You can do a little of both! And that is what I try to live by.
Then I go to Moab and I throw that entire sentiment out the window because there are so many dirt roads out here I want NEED to drive down, and I imagine how easy it would be to mountain bike after work, or climb on the weekend or camp in a new campsite every night and it is just not possible to do any of that in Boston.
When it comes down to it I know I’ll never leave but I sure will try to go back to Utah as many time as I possibly can before I die.
This time around was my first time in Arches and Canyonlands and hoooooooboy it was Good.
Day 1: Arches
The first full day there, we decided to do all the typical Arches drive-bys. There were two main things we wanted to ACTUALLY do (meaning, like, requiring a small amount of hiking), which was hiking the Fiery Furnace and heading to Delicate Arch for sunset.
You need a permit to hike Fiery Furnace, and because a good rule of thumb for national parks is that everything will always be completely booked, the soonest we could get one for was a couple days later. That ended up working out, because another good rule of thumb for national parks is that everything will take twice as long as you think it will so we would have been really rushing to squeeze it in anyway.
That left double arch, devil’s garden trail, north and south window arches, park avenue trail during the day. Peep some pics above and also below.
I said there were really only two things we were concerned about doing in Arches, and one of those was sunset at Delicate Arch. WORTH IT. The way the sun hits that already ridiculous looking piece of rock, and illuminates the mountains in the background, dang everyone you gotta go see for yourself.
I’m sure it’s the most popular arch in the park so I can only imagine what the crowd of people is like during the day. We hiked up there about an hour before it got dark, brought some drinks to chill with (cue reminder to pack it in and pack it out people!!), and it was so….nice. There were still a good amount of people there but something about being up there for sunset seemed to make everyone actually respectful. It went unsaid that if you wanted a picture in front of the arch you take turns, all 20 photographers helped each other out with angles, and everyone sat back and stayed out of frame as the sun was setting.
More of that in parks, please.
Day 2: Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands
The next day we headed to the Island In The Sky section of Canyonlands, and hit up Dead Horse Point State Park on the way. Canyonlands is so so much bigger than Arches, and so few people go. We were here on a beautiful weekend day and it almost seemed deserted compared to Arches, which is how I’m sure we’d all prefer it.
To be completely honest, there were points at which I thought Canyonlands was more impressive than the Grand Canyon. It’s like a canyon within a canyon within a canyon and it’s so big I still can’t completely wrap my head around it and so I will refrain from even trying to describe it to you.
The one thing I will say about Canyonlands is that there are a ton of back country roads. We really didn’t make use of them (rental car, no lift, etc etc) but I would absolutely love to come back here for a true 4x4 camping experience preferably with bikes. But I’ll save it for another trip.
Day 3: Fiery Furnace
I am so happy we decided to return to arches to do this hike. Fav thing we did on this trip. Fiery Furnace is about a 2 mile loop hike through a maze of small slot canyons, boulders, arches, all kinds of rocks. As I mentioned before, you need a permit, and you’re required to sit through a quick video + overview with a ranger. They make it known that it truly is a maze, and you will probably get lost, but exploring off the trial is encouraged.
This hike was so. fun. It’s technically only two miles but we spent four hours in there. There are trail markers, but they are quite hidden and we definitely got truly lost a couple times (not lost that I was trying to ration my clif bar or anything, though). There’s a ton of slots to climb through, stuff that actually took a few tries to climb over, hidden arches — the perfect amount of technicality for someone who is not technical at all when it comes to climbing or hiking. It was the best adult jungle gym I’ve ever been in.
And with that, I will leave you with the tune that first even made me want to go to this amazing red-rocked dusty southwest pocket of the U.S.