One of the things I struggle with the most about living in Utah is that everything is just so close that it’s almost TOO close, and I become complacent about it. This is particularly the case with national parks, so when a friend of mine asked me to take her and her husband canyoneering for a weekend celebration of their move to Seattle (because nothing says “let’s go play in the desert” like the idea of moving to one of the rainiest cities in the US), I jumped at the chance! We picked two canyons in Arches, U-Turn and Dragonfly, and what a day it was! (Brady took the dog to Ken’s Lake for the day, since dogs aren’t allowed in the park. So maybe counting this as a family trip is cheating, but we DID go into the park together… so I’m counting it. Fight me.)
I just have to say it- even though it seems like I don’t, I really do love Arches. I do! And wow, canyoneering is absolutely the way to experience it. The entire time we were in the “canyons” (only one of them could truly be considered a canyon) we never saw another human being, and we got to see parts of the park that most people never see. It was incredible. If you ever want a really unique experience in Arches, let me know, and we’ll do some canyoneering.
After the first two rappels, it opens up into a huge open area with expansive views of the Park Avenue area and the rest of the park. We had a blast gushing over how beautiful it was, and howling our joy through the echoing walls around us.
After our first canyon, we took a quick lunch break and headed into our second canyon for more thrills (this time with water, which was a welcome respite from the intense heat).
After that, we met back up with Brady and the pup to take sign photos (must haves), break down camp, and head home. It was a fun-filled day for everyone, and I’m thrilled that I got to introduce some wonderful friends to a fun experience and a gorgeous area of solitude in a park typically busy with life. It really goes to show you that sometimes all it takes to experience new wonders is getting just a little bit off the beaten path, and that even is the busiest of places, you can still find peace, and silence (and really awesome echoes).