Monday, February 8, 2016

Travel Diary: Canyonlands and Arches National Park

Arches National Park

This past weekend, I went on a trip with my university's outdoor program. The outdoor program hosts many free trips every semester to National Parks, popular hiking trails, caves, rivers, etc. and there are many outdoor activities to choose from such as hiking, rafting, biking, climbing, and camping. This trip was special for me because it was the first trip that I helped lead. I'm hoping to lead trips next semester officially, so this semester I am apprenticing on trips so I can learn the ropes.

The planned trip was to camp in Canyonlands National Park Islands in the Sky and hike the next day to different areas in the park such as Mesa Arch. However, it was unexpectedly freezing and so foggy you couldn't see any of the pretty views! We took a sunrise hike to Mesa Arch as planned and it was freezing (literally-- my hair had frost on it) and so foggy it looked like the drop off behind it just went into the ether.

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

Everyone was kind of miserable in the beginning, but spirits rose when we decided to change our plans and go to Arches National Park instead. Arches is in Moab just like Canyonlands, but is lower so it wasn't as foggy or cold.

Arches is my favorite National Park. I have hiked Delicate Arch and Corona Arch twice and repelled off of Corona Arch once (150 ft high). We didn't hike either of those and instead hiked Windows and Double Arches which were both short, fun hikes.

Double Arches (see first picture)
South Window, Arches National Park

The trip leaders really saved the trip. They did so well at keeping their spirits up and getting things done even when everyone else was miserable. I have to admit, I did not do as well as a trip apprentice as I should have. Sure, I have my excuses... I was sick, it was colder than expected, bla bla bla... but I know that when I eventually lead trips on my own I have to be able to focus more on the positives and turn a disaster into the best situation possible. So this was certainly a learning experience for me. I will do better next time!

I highly recommend Arches National Park, it has always treated me well. From what I saw of Canyonlands, it was beautiful too, but I definitely want to visit again in the spring! Canyonlands is also where the movie 127 Hours takes place... you know, the one where James Franco goes hiking on his own and ends up cutting his arm off? It's worth the watch, trust me!

-Rebecca

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