On Tuesday and Wednesday of our week in Utah, we drove from Park City down to Moab, Utah, and Arches National Park.

On Tuesday, we left late morning and stopped in Provo for lunch, just on the other side of Salt Lake, then carried on during naps to Moab. (We ate at Station 22 in Provo and I had the "Pig & Cheese" sandwich, which was pulled pork shoulder, grilled green apples, and cheedar. It was super yum!)

The drive was a long one--about four hours total--but it was so varied: moving from green mountains in Provo to flat, sandy dessert, to mesas, then finally to the red rock formations of Southern Utah.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The kids snoozed and read and were generally cooperative. Hamish knew we were going to see the "mountain with a hole in it". She'd seen pictures. When we finally got to our campsite late that afternoon, she confessed that she maybe had fallen asleep and missed it. Sweet girl. I promised her we would not let her miss it. 

We have been wanting to go camping, but staying in an actual tent sounded daunting. So we booked one night at a campground in Moab. Our little cabin had a queen sized bed, bunk beds, space for the pack and play, a mini fridge, and a window unit. We had a little porch and picnic table out front, and the bath house was just behind us. All in all it worked well for one night. 

We checked in, dumped some stuff, and got right back in the car to go to Arches National Park about 6 pm. We drove to the first set of big arches: North and South Window and Turret Arch. Hamish and the Manimal both rode for the short walk to the arches, but Hamish didn't want to stay contained once we arrived.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The arches come in all shapes and sizes. Any split in the rock is technically an arch, and there are 2,000 arches in the park. But of course it's the big ones that make the biggest impression. The Windows are definitely impressive spans of rock!

Hamish, apparently, is part mountain goat. She was not satisfied unless she was scrambling up and over the rocks.

The Manimal and I, obviously, weren't quite as adventurous. We climbed a bit, but stayed mostly under the arch where we accidently became a sight in our own right for a group of Chinese tourists. The Manimal didn't mind; he's used to adoring fans who want to pinch his rolls everywhere we go.

We did get one family shot, good for scale if nothing else.

Then we crossed over to Turret Arch and once again Kyle and Hamish climbed right up.

It was getting late by the time we left. We grabbed sandwiches in Moab and carried them back to our cabin for a picnic.

Getting both kids down in the same room was a bit of a juggle, but we got it done. Kyle and I had brought a bottle of wine and plastic cups in hopes of sitting under the desert stars and enjoying the night for a while. But we were both exhausted, and after wearing the Manimal my neck was disinclined to look straight up for long periods of time, so we crashed early ourselves.

Wednesday morning we woke up and hit the ground running. It was only going to get hotter and it's not like we had luxury facilities to enjoy. We were hiking in the park again by 7, this time taking the view point to Delicate Arch (the arch used on the Utah license plates), Fiery Furnace viewpoint (it gets its name from the colors at sunset, so was less dazzling at 8 am), and a final arch that I'm still not sure the name of.

I think we got a bit off the beaten track on this last one. We approached from this direction, where there is no way we could have gotten up into the arch. But see those tiny people? There must have been a more accessible trail on the other side.

That was ok, though. We got to explore alone for the rest of the morning. My shoulders and neck cooperated this day and the Manimal rode happily the whole time. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Hamish explored and happily ran around and over and through.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

We left the park once it really started heating up, about 10:30. We checked out of our cabin and had a late breakfast in Moab before driving back.

In Park City we headed straight to the library for Hamish and me, while Kyle went to get coffees. We read books for a while, then went for an ice cream treat before heading home. We had anticipated a long day, so we already had ravioli for a simple at home dinner.

We washed off the red dust, put our babies to bed, and Kyle and I cashed in our wine+stars rain check: this time from the hot tub.