Originally, I was going to combine Arches and Canyonlands in one post, but Arches is just too amazing to toss it together with another one. It was, by far, the favorite national park of the entire trip for all of the children.
Day 4: We had a base camp in Moab, so there wasn't quite as much driving today, except for the miles we drove inside the park.
We left for Arches National Park around 9:15 am and started our day at the Visitor's Center. We were able to drag the children away from the statues outside just in time to drive to the Windows Trail for a guided walk. My kids were quite vocal during the talks. Second Daughter even pointed out some tiny creatures in a little puddle for everyone else to see.
Kansas Dad, scanning the sky, decided to rush back to the van to stuff all our rain coats into his backpack. Thanks goodness he did! Before the walk ended (he caught up with us quite easily), it was raining pretty heavily.
It's hard to see, but Kansas Dad and the kids are all standing under the arch.
Then it hailed.
The guided portion ends in the middle of a trail, so we just kept on walking in the rain. Charlotte Mason would be so proud of us!
We found some picnic tables near Balanced Rock and spread all our coats out to dry while we ate. We were pleased at how well our gear handled the rain and dried so quickly. Given the amount of rain we trudged through on this trip, the raincoats were a worthy investment.
Then we drove back to the Windows section to walk out to Double Arch. Here we have the highlight of the trip. The kids clambered and climbed for almost two hours on the rocks.
Kansas Dad and Second Son found lots of routes and hiding spots. Can you see them under the rocks?
I sat for most of the time, not being a climber myself. I can't tell you how many times I overheard other visitors saying things like, "Would you just look at that little girl in the blue hat go? She's climbing all over the place!"
Yeah, that's one of mine.
Second Daughter spied a lizard on the walk back to the van. I'll never understand how that girl can seem to be going a hundred miles an hour but is always the one to see the little creatures everyone else misses.
We stopped at Fiery Furnace, where there was a tremendous view but no rocks to climb.
Finally, we hiked to Sand Arch (don't stand under it anymore; pieces have started to fall) and Broken Arch (which isn't really broken).
Total driving for day 4 - 60 miles.