It was a long long drive from Monument Valley to Moab and a big detour on our road. But we had heard only great things about Arches National Park so we figured it was worth the drive. On our way we stopped at a cute coffee shop in a town in the middle of nowhere to enjoy come cappuccino and chai latte before taking the road again.
In the evening, we arrived in Moab, the town where the National Park is located. We tried to find a campground but the first two we visited were closed for the season. Luckily the last one wasn’t, although it seemed like it. Slick Rock Campground had no office during the winter season, just an envelope based on the honour system: leave your money in it and that’s it. That wouldn’t work everywhere! Happy to have somewhere to cook, we made another one of our delicious chilis con carne. We then headed back to find the laundry mat as it was becoming necessary. We enjoyed the wifi there along with all the hippies and travellers of the city!
After a pretty chilly night, we were thrilled to discover hot and free showers in the campground – it doesn’t happen that often around here. And after a warm Starbucks, we knew we were going to have a pretty good day! We even discover a new kind of trail mix, with nothing but different sorts of peanuts, called Peanut Lover. Well, we ate the whole thing in one day (650g, yes it’s a lot)!
We drove to the Arches National Park and after the Park Ranger warned us against the upcoming snow (what?!) we drove up the road in the gigantic park. The area covers indeed 76,359 acres (30,901 ha) and contains over 2000 sandstone arches. Obviously, we had to pick what we would do! So we drove all the way to the end of the road to hike the Double O trail. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we knew things were going to be rough. The wind was blowing like crazy and it was freezing! We put our coats and hiking shoes on and headed hastily towards the trail, trying to warm up as we walked. The hike was really nice, especially because once we reached the Landscape Arch, it turned into primitive trail which meant: no beaten path, less people, more climbing on rocks, more fun! We walked among the rocks in an amazing scenery and finally reached the double O arch, which was definitely worth the effort. We couldn’t even resist climbing all the way to walk at the very top of the arch for the best aerial experience of the park!
Afterwards, we drove to watch the famous Delicate Arch and watched it from the viewpoint, too cold at this point to attempt another 3 hour hike. We then went to see the Window Arches and followed the trail to see the North Window and South Window side by side. We also peaked at the Double Arch and Turret Arch.
We were definitely not disappointed to have made it all this way for the arches, because this incredible orange landscape of rocks was really the best way to finish our national parks tour.