Have you ever wanted to experience something that would make you feel so insignificant, yet so important to leave your mark on the world?
When I hit my mile stone of 30 last month, I made a promise to myself that this is going to be the year of adventure for me. Sure, I’ve traveled quite a bit due to my husband’s job and have had the opportunity to do some pretty cool things, but this is the year I was going to get myself out of my comfort zone and try things I never thought I’d do.
I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and recently got into hiking. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to kick off my new decade with a trip to Moab when invited by a new friend I just made merely 6 weeks ago on a skiing trip in Park City. Melissa (yes that’s her name too!) has quite an impressive hiking resume, so I knew I’d be in great hands. When telling a friend of mine about the trip, she decided to join also. Now that Molly was on board too, we named ourselves the 3-M Musketeers! (Cute, right?!)
We landed in Salt Lake City and made our 4-hour scenic drive to Moab. Once settling in, we mapped out our 3 days of hiking. Each day offered something completely different so we were excited!
(I’ve included a * key below to help those who may want to plan a trip to Moab. I am obviously not a professional; the key below is simply my opinion on difficulty levels.)
We decided to start with the more touristy place, The Delicate Arch*. The weather was crisp, the sunshine was warm and sky bright blue. When we made our way to the Arch, I was blown away by this 305-foot-tall masterpiece. It’s quite magical to look around and realize you’re surrounded by nature that’s been created over millions of years.
After the Delicate Arch, we remained on our “arch tour” and made our way over to Devils Garden Trailhead, where we saw the Landscape Arch*, Partition Arch**, and Navajo Arch**. Breathtaking views that the pictures I took will seriously never do it justice.
It’s not usually a good sign when your avid hiking friend prefaces the day’s hike upon arrival with, “Don’t get overwhelmed but see that huge mountain (as she points in the distance) and look straight up. Yep, that’s where we’re going.” As I gazed up, all I could think was “Boy oh boy! I better have buns of steel after this!”
Hidden Valley Trail*** was calling our names (The 3-M Musketeers of course) so we started to make our way up. We had a gradual climb and then got to the steep stuff. After we winded our way up the steep side of the mountain, we were greeted by a surprising, yet refreshing, flat path through an open field. (My legs were happy for a break!)
Coddled between 2 huge mountain cliffs, it was the perfect setting. Once through the field, we started on our primitive trek where the adventure really began. Petroglyphs lined the rocks. We felt like the modern-day Goonies, except we weren’t searching for One Eyed Willie and his treasures. We were searching for communication Indians left that told a tale hundreds of years ago. We stood there in disbelief that these messages from the Indians remained. We looked at each one just as you would study an intricate piece of art in a museum, and tried to figure out what they were trying to say through these images.
We followed these along our path until our nifty hiking friend Melissa, had something even greater up her sleeve. We searched all around for what she was describing and then there it was in the distance at the highest point, a Kiev, where Indians met to give their offerings. We slithered through this tiny crack and hoisted ourselves up. Simply wow. There were no words to describe what was before me. Melissa mentioned it was good mojo to get inside of the Kiev to meditate before we headed back down so I jumped on the opportunity. Hey, you can never have too much positive energy and good mojo!
After we squeezed back through the rocks and made our way back, I felt so invigorated. I felt like a total badass and that I could conquer anything. Maybe meditating in the Kiev was already bringing me good mojo…? Either way, this was certainly my favorite day.
We started our morning at a cute, local café in downtown Moab called Love Muffin. Cool and trendy with a line out the door, we knew we were at the right spot. I ordered the Potatas Bravas which was delish and the coffee was great!
After we were fueled up, we were ready for our last day of hiking. We were undecided about what to do so we went to Canyonlands and scoped out the best outlook points we could get to by hiking. We started with Mesa Arch*, which was a great warm up for what the day had in store.
After taking in the scenery there, we drove a little further in the park to White Rim Overlook* and made our way to the end. Looking over the edge reminded me of prehistoric times. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the views I was taking in. These huge, deep crevasses in the earth that again have taken hundreds of millions of years to form the way that they are today, and guess what, they will continue to change over time. I totally understood why people want to be geologists and it made me want to go home and study up!
Since the days prior we had logged decent miles and climbed hefty elevations, our little 2.5 miles for the day just wasn’t enough, so we decided to explore the Goosberry Trail*** and it certainly did not disappoint. We carefully watched our step as we made our way down. The trail switched back and forth down the side and we followed. Loose gravel, boulders and steep stone stairs carved our way. Once reaching the bottom, we turned around and looked up. We could not believe we just came down and guess what? Yep, we had to go back up.
Once at the bottom, we realized the trail looked nothing like it did from up above. Think of a small pebble beach with deep, thick sand. That’s what we walked through for another mile or so to get to what looked like the edge of the earth. Again, I was just in awe how all of this had formed over the years.
After spending some time taking pictures, we turned around and started to make our way back through the rocky sand path. Then, there is was, the bottom of the cliff that we had just came down. It was time to seriously hike up the side of this massive rock! While taking our first few steps, Melissa taught Molly and I the fundamentals of hiking up mountains. As we listened to her instructions and focused on our breathing, we slowly made it up. From bottom to top took us just over an hour! Yes, we hiked up for an hour straight! It was the perfect way to end our day and certainly our trip.
Moab was good to us. 22 miles hiked, 7,150 feet climbed in elevation and 287 stories of stairs, I’d say we came and we conquered! It was an unbelievable experience and I’m already planning another hiking adventure. When leaving the park and looking out the window, it left me thinking. What stamp can I leave on the world that someone will find hundreds, even millions of years later, that will make them as intrigued as I was about what the Indians left behind…
* Easy- All levels. Good for children.
** Moderate- Some difficultly. Wouldn’t suggest bringing young children.
*** Difficult- Some strenuous places. Wouldn’t recommend if mobility is an issue.