As Hannah and I wait with our daughter Molly’s family (Tip, Owen, and Max) at Logan Airport in Boston on this first Saturday morning of April school vacation week, it’s not a good sign when Delta announces that our jet won’t have enough fuel to make the non-stop flight to Salt Lake City. We hear that we’ll have to refuel in Minneapolis. WTF! What do you mean that our schedule flight doesn’t have enough fuel when you knew it was going to Salt Lake City six months ago when we bought our tickets!
Using all my Zen Namaste Peace and Love-ness, I settle in and think of Doris Day (i.e. que sera sera). We then get the explanation that it’s a fuel pump that is not working. Then, twenty minutes later we learn that the ground crew has worked their magic and got it up and running. Though two hours late, we are appreciatively in the air for our 5.5 hour flight to Utah.
Enterprise Car Rental comes through as they always have. From the landing, taxiing to the terminal, and walking to the on-site Car Rental cluster, we are driving south on I-15 through Salt Lake City within 30 minutes.
Stocking up for seven days on the road at the Trader Joe’s in Orem, near Provo, we then choose wisely to feast on two large Mountain Mike’s pizzas in the car as Molly drives us 200+ miles over four hours to Moab for the night.
Our three bedroom VRBO condo at the Rim Village in Moab blows us away. It has a deluxe master bedroom for Hannah and me, another queen bedroom for Molly and Tip, and a third room with twin beds for Owen and Max. There is a pool and hot tub in the complex. We rest easy after sitting for ten hours in a plane and a car.
Before the others awake on Easter Sunday morning, I walk the Rim Village neighborhood in the dark and find the moon setting over the mountains.
Our first of five days hiking in the national parks of Utah begins at Arches National Park. To deal with the overcrowding of the popular national parks, the park service requires that visitors from May through October at the Arches obtain a timed entry reservation to enter the park at all. Our reservation allows us to enter this morning between seven to eight AM.
We begin our hiking morning with the park’s signature trail to the Delicate Arch. Though there are many folks on the 1.5 mile trail with nearly 500′ of elevation gain over sandstone slick rock, there is a festive rather than overcrowded feel to our hike.
Max nearly 8 and Owen nearly 10 keep up admirably as we climb to the arch that is on many Utah license plates.
Delicate Arch gets its red color from iron oxide. Although there is a rumor that the names of Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch were inadvertently exchanged due to a signage mix-up by the National Park Service, this is false. (See at the end of the blog the Landscape Arch and you tell me if the names were misapplied!)
Some of the nicknames for this iconic arch include “Cowboy’s Chaps” and “Old Maid’s Bloomers.” The first time the arch was called “Delicate” was in a magazine article in 1934. The writer noted that the arch was “the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area.” Summer temperatures here often exceed 100 degrees. Our temps were hiking-delightful in the low 60s on this mid-April morning.
On the return trip we six pair off, with Owen and me trailing behind eventually walking nearly a mile with Lakota and Elena from Nashville. They are engaging folks and interested in us, too. Elena walks a half mile chit chatting with Owen while I talk college football and traveling the country with Lakota.
With our big morning hike in the books, we drive to the parking area for the Windows Trail and the Double Arch. Our hiking day has just begun.