18/59 – Arches National Park | 6.2.18

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.

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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.

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Can you see those tiny people walking strolling through Park Avenue? That’s about the closest we got to people until the very end of the canyon.

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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).

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It looked gross, but it felt really good (it was also FREEZING- welcome respite from the intense heat).
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Awesome friends helping stuff rope!

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This is one of my favorite rappels in any canyon anywhere. After being in distinctive desert area, dropping into a lush riparian zone is stunning.
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It’s not a true canyoneering trip without a nice solid butt shot.

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In the middle of Courthouse Wash there were a bunch of ponds FULL of frogs! That surprised me, as the water levels in the potholes higher up in the canyon were significantly lower than the last time I did the canyon. But it was fun to see an area teeming with life in the middle of a sweltering desert.

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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).

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