Sunday, April 13, 2014

Moab Trip: Day 2

A rare family photo by Mesa Arch in Canyonlands.
After a pretty good sleep in the hotel, we drove down to Dead Horse Point State Park. We were a little disappointed with this part of our trip. Randy had told me before our trip that he had never been to Dead Horse Point because every time his family came this way his dad would say, "We're not driving all the way over there to pay $10 to look in a hole." Well, fortunately for us, we have a state parks pass so we didn't pay the fee. And we also have a slightly larger sense of adventure...we want our boys (and ourselves) to visit every Utah State Park. But his dad was right, it isn't much more than looking in a hole.

The views are very beautiful of the river and canyons. We walked a few little trails near the edges, which are very well fenced. We spent a little bit of time in the Visitors Center, but other than that, Dead Horse Point wasn't much. Mark and Dax completed the Junior Ranger Program (although we lied about Dax's age saying he was 5 which he promptly told the ranger he was not 5, just 4). I think a big part of the problem was the ranger. She was short (not in stature), unhelpful, and kind of rude. She told us that the Junior Ranger Program was for 6 and up and was very insistent on that even though Dax at the age of 4 had done all the work himself (we completed the booklet at home) that he was too young to be Junior Ranger. I had helped him spell a few words, but he had written every bit of it (luckily she was gone and another ranger let him earn the badge). We have often commented that the rangers make all the difference at these state and national parks. We have always encountered amazing rangers in National Parks, but state parks are hit and miss. This was definitely a miss.

Mark and Dax by the overlook...nice cheesy smile Dax!

Seth seriously stops about every 5 minutes to pose for a picture.

This is Dead Horse Point.

You can see these rock formations on the
 way to Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands.

After Dead Horse Point, we drove down to Canyonlands National Park. Randy had also never been here. We had a totally different experience in Canyonlands. The rangers were, of course, awesome and helpful. The first thing we did was catch a ranger program about night animals. This is one of the requirements for a National Park Junior Ranger (or watching a movie). We learned a few new things about animals--like cats have extra noses (top of their mouth), owls ears are offset (one is well higher than the other), and dogs and cats have an extra lens in the back of their eye which reflects the image so they see it twice which is why in pictures their eyes seem to glow. Anyway, I was very into the ranger talk.

We did some really fun hikes and stopped at lots of view points. At the first viewpoint you could see this road that goes through the entire park (100 miles). You need a 4 wheel drive, high clearance vehicle or you better believe Randy would have taken us on that road. We kept seeing it throughout the trip and it would be pretty cool to drive. Maybe some day. We took a hike to Mesa Arch which was fun. Seth insisted on walking the entire way again. We even got a family shot by this arch.

Seth did not like when it was windy.

Seth trying to climb up the rocks like his big brothers.

Another family photo by Mesa Arch.
We drove out to the end of one road and hiked over to look at this huge crater. They are not sure if it is the site of a meteorite crashing into earth or of a salt upheaval. Everyone in the family voted for salt upheaval, except mom who said meteorite just for Carl Sagan (she's reading Cosmos right now). It was definitely out of the ordinary.

Mark spotted a cave.

Dax just laid down to take a rest.

Upheaval Dome is in the background. Weird huh?

Mark and Dax held hands on the way back down.
I couldn't help taking a picture.
Then we stopped to do another hike to Aztec Butte. The reason we wanted to do this hike was to see some granaries built by the ancestral people right into the mountain side. But we didn't look at the map very well and ended up hiking to the top of the Butte. There were some serious climbing spots on the rocks, but the boys did great and mom's shoe only fell off once. When we got back to the car, I looked back and couldn't believe that we had climbed so high. It was a fun hike and no one complained. We found an old dwelling on the top too. And the views were amazing! We did find the granaries on the way back, on a much easier side trail. Mark and Dax said this was their favorite part of Canyonlands.

I love hiking with these boys.

We climbed up a lot of slick rock.

We climbed that butte in the background. Crazy!

The granaries were the boys' favorite adventure today.

Mark was so excited to spot this "arch,"

Seth happy in the backpack for a moment.
We drove down and stopped at all the other overlooks on our way to the end of the other road. The views are spectacular. You can see for miles and miles and the layers are so interesting. We had a great time exploring here. Seth finally fell sleep about 4:00 on our way back to the Visitor's Center, so while the boys went in and earned another Junior Ranger badge, I hung out in the car with the sleeping baby.

The last part of our trip involved eating at the diner in Moab where we saw a family from Highland. Randy and I had both taught their children in school. It seems like we bump into someone wherever we go now. Then we went back to the hotel and went swimming for a few minutes before we sent the kids to bed. They fell asleep much quicker tonight--I assume because we wore them completely out.

The Green River Lookout.

My favorite picture of Seth on this trip. 

We must have worn them out.

This is the huge viewpoint of Canyonlands.
It's so amazing!

Mark loved swimming in the pool.

All Seth wanted to do was splash whoever was holding him.


  1. I think it's amazing that your kids can handle that much hiking! Mine would have been complaining long before that. How many miles do you think you walked on Day 2?

    1. I'd estimate 3.5-4.5 miles. If it's broken up, it's not too bad. They don't do nearly as well on a long hike. Each of these short hikes had a feeling of "done" at the end. Then they are ready for another.

  2. Another fun day! I'm loving it all!


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