Arches National Park

 

This is one of the coolest places on the planet—and awesome for a visual geography lesson!

People on the trails either love or hate that you bring your kids with you. When they hate it, you know. You’ll get looks, people won’t move for them even when they have the right of way, and some idiots actually open their mouths: “Not in school...” —some old guy, about our kids as we were hiking down from the Delicate Arch. And then he was like “oh I guess it’s Saturday”. Lucky for him, only Nathanael heard him, but I did turn around and yell, “oh hey, btw, we homeschool, as if it’s any of your business.” Unfortunately, I don’t think he heard me 😂🙄
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So yeah, we aren’t in school. Even if it wasn’t a Saturday, we wouldn’t be at school. We’d be here, learning. I chose to homeschool for the same end goal as I chose doterra: for more freedom. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Freedom to take a two-week road trip without having to answer to a school. Freedom to learn what we want, where we want, and how we want to. The flexibility of more play time, a later start, and more projects that they enjoy doing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Though the woman coming up after him was SO excited to see kids on the trail—“I’m so glad they get to see this!”
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Me too. Me too. ♥️

Basically, we spent two mornings in Arches National Park…one day driving around to all of the easy access areas (North and South windows area, the “Garden of Eden” which tbh, just looked like a bunch of penises to me, etc), and the following morning hiking the Delicate Arch.

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The Delicate Arch

The Delicate Arch hike isn’t too long, just over three miles and rated as moderate on All-Trails (the best trail app ever). But it was a little intense for our kids—for them it was definitely “difficult”. It was funny coming back down and having adults see our seven year old and say, “Well if he can do it, we can do it.”

We got to the trail about 6:30 am, so it was dark, and it took us about two hours to hike there, and that was with an unfortunate detour—my fault for following people rather than looking for signs.

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part of our detour

part of our detour

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North + South Windows

This area has a bunch of easily accessible arches! Super kid-friendly.

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Caeden, sensible and safe on the ground. Micah, fearless and defiant at the top.

Caeden, sensible and safe on the ground. Micah, fearless and defiant at the top.

Also, for every photo that you see like this:

THIS is actually the reality:

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Not to say that picture isn’t cool or that these people weren’t there to connect with nature, but photos like this are usually captioned with some outdoors-y quote, something about ‘let’s get lost’, when this is literally within view of the parking lot with a hundred people around. These National Parks have always been sacred space, but they’re quickly turning into tourist checklist stops running with frantic energy rather than connection points. You miss a lot of the earth and each other when you’re just going for photos.

And it is loud. I’m learning that the more popular state parks are not places you really go to find solitude in the wilderness…except for Yellowstone. That place is so big and dense you can find quiet if you look for it.

Anyway. Just make note that all of the Instagram photos, though beautiful, do not always depict the circumstances. Take the pictures!! Make the memories!! Maybe just ask yourself, “am I taking this “for the ‘gram” or am I taking this for the memory?”

tried to recreate this photo…by the wrong sign and without my brother lol

tried to recreate this photo…by the wrong sign and without my brother lol

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Also. We picked up so many cigarette butts and trash literally twenty steps away from a trash can. Like…I get accidents happen and sometimes trash gets away from you, but some things just don’t.

Also. We picked up so many cigarette butts and trash literally twenty steps away from a trash can. Like…I get accidents happen and sometimes trash gets away from you, but some things just don’t.

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

Tips

Get there as early as you can—seriously. We left the park by 11 both days we were there and the line to get into the park was insane. Also just a note about national parks—if you’re there to connect with the earth and see some natural wonders and soak in that good earth energy, awesome. If you’re just there to take a photo for Instagram then please go home. Sincerely, everyone.

Be a nice human—this should go without saying, but just try to be a decent human. When you’re visiting the national parks in Utah, chances are that you’ll run into people you saw in Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, etc.

Parking—was not great in Arches, so it’s even more important to get there early. The lots are very small, except by the Delicate Arch.

Bathrooms—are few, but will be listed on the map.

Don’t stack the rocks—stacked rocks or “cairns” are used to mark the trail. These are stacked by national park rangers and we don’t need a bunch of people just randomly stacking rocks. We know they look cool, but they also make it hard to follow the trail.

When we visited: Mid-September

Cost

Remember that it costs money to get into the parks (usually $25 for a day pass, $35 ish for a 3-day pass), but you can buy a year-long pass for $80! We just did this at the first national park we went to.

More the national parks travel log:

(this list will get longer as time goes on haha. It’s our goal to visit all of the US national parks.)

  1. Yellowstone

  2. Zion

  3. Bryce Canyon

  4. Capitol Reef

  5. Canyonlands