I had a wedding in Moab last weekend and decided to make a bit of a trip out of it. Ever since Brent and I went in 2007 I have been trying to get my dad down to see Arches. I knew he would love it. And I was glad when both he and my mom trudged down to Moab to see the sights.
On the first day we did mostly nature walk type hikes, since I promised my mom that we wouldn't really be doing any hiking. I was super surprised at how quickly Stella took to the hiking. She loved it and was very interested in looking at the map and figuring out which hike was next. At the end of the day she called herself a "little hiking girl," and boy was she!
Our first stop was at Sand Dune and Broken Arch. I had been pointing out all of the rocks that looked like their namesakes, so when we first got out of the car, Stella saw a rock and named it "Turtle Rock" since it looked like a turtle. We even gave her a magic stick so that she could make it official.
Sand Dune arch is a lovely site hidden in a crevice with tons of sand that Stella could have sat in and played with all day. Then we walked to Broken Arch. Every once and a while Stella would have to stop and play with the sand on the trail. She could not help herself!
We stopped for a picnic and then took a group shot at Skyline Arch.
When Brent and I had visited before, we didn't make it to some of the arches, so I admit that they were a priority of mine. (I still have a few I have to see after two trips.) So we headed up to North & South Windows and Turret Arch.
Our last stop was Balanced Rock, which Stella was happy to point out to us every time that we drove past it. "There is Balanced Rock!"
We then headed back to our condo so that Stella could get a swim in. We were tired from our hikes and so were ready to call it a day. Stella got her swim in and then we went to dinner. At dinner I was able to get everyone to commit to hiking the trail to see Delicate Arch. You can make it out from viewpoints, but it looks tiny from there, and I was determined (even though I am NOT a hiker) that I would see that arch. How can you go to Arches and not see the most famous arch in the whole wide world? And guess what? My little hiker was totally up for it, although she was sad that we were only going to be doing one more hike.
We got up that morning and I was thinking that I just wanted to pack up and go home, but I didn't admit it to anyone because it seemed that everyone was actually going to do it! It is about three miles in total, and it goes up and up and up. But Stella freaking rocked it out! She was happy and excited the whole way. She did get tired as we hiked the steep slick rock though, which she named "Tired Rock." Sometimes she needed a break or had to take small steps, but she never gave up.
One of my favorite parts of the hike (and it is actually a lovely hike with lots of variety) was that Delicate Arch is hidden as you come around a corner, so it is like all of the sudden, BAM, there it is. And I was blown away when I first saw it. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. We took some time to be happy we made it, and then took some pictures. Be sure to notice how big the arch is. You can't really tell until you see the picture of me, dad, and Stella under it. I was so proud of my daughter, I can't even tell you. As we were walking up, people said that they would be surprised if she made it and she totally did. It surprised me too! I don't know where she got this love of hiking from, but it wasn't from her parents. The walk back down was much easier, but I was pretty worn out when we finally made it to the car and began our drive back to Salt Lake City.