Take a hike! Any hike! Just get outside and do it!
Delicate Arch Hike: The Story
5 years ago, our family took an 8,600 mile road trip around the US. 23 states. 11 National Parks. Memories that will last a lifetime.
One memory that stuck with me over the years was Delicate Arch.
We arrived at Arches National Park after a four and a half hour drive from Bryce Canyon. It was 115 degrees outside and Arches appeared to be mostly a driving park. Our kids were 6 and 8 at the time. They were a bit cranky with the drive and the heat.
The one thing I REALLY wanted to see at Arches National Park was the Delicate Arch. The iconic arch that you used to see on every Utah license plate. It’s synonymous with Utah. It’s THE arch. The only one.
There’s also a mile and a half hike to see it. Through the desert. In 115 degree heat. In July. Just wasn’t happening on this trip.
After looking at it from the observation area for Delicate Arch, we retreated to our air conditioned lodging.
Yes, that’s Delicate Arch from the observation area. Zoomed in about 1000x.
1. Just Do It!
After the road trip, looking back, skipping the hike to Delicate Arch was the only thing that really stuck out as something we missed. Did we see everything at Yellowstone? Not even close. But, it felt “complete” for lack of a better term. We saw Old Faithful. We visited the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Foregoing the hike to Delicate Arch left Arches National Park incomplete. And I wasn’t sure when I (or we) would ever get back to do it.
So, first lesson learned.
Take a hike! Drive to the lookout point. Get in the raft. Swim in the spring. Jump off the cliff.
Whatever the experience, do it! Especially, if it’s an iconic location. Something everyone hopes to see or do, one day. Get off your butt. Get over yourself. Do it. Get after it.
Trust me. You’ll regret seeing it from the “observation point.”
2. Hike Your Hike
When we finally got the chance to hike to Delicate Arch with Adventures by Disney, we did it as a group (Adventures by Disney is Disney’s family guided group travel experience). I started out talking to a friend I’d made on the trip and was hiking WAY too fast. I was out of breath and thirsty and we weren’t even half a mile into the hike.
At the first break, I waited for everyone to start their hike. I needed to hike my own hike. This was an experience I’d waited for for 5 years. I needed to take it all in. I certainly did NOT need to stroke out on the red stone.
This lesson applies to most travel experiences. It’s your vacation. Enjoy it!
Make sure you take in the sights, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells of whatever adventures you choose.
3. There’s No Guarantee of Tomorrow
Delicate Arch is called “delicate” for a reason. A fellow traveler mentioned that this arch may not be here the “next time.”
The desert landscape shifts on a regular basis. A rock tumbles here. That cliff face falls over there. Delicate Arch could collapse at any moment and be lost to future travelers.
This applies to the travelers, as well. I was never guaranteed the 5 years between trips to Arches National Park.
I’m not sure who said it, but it applies, here.
Life is short. Take the trip.
The hike to Delicate Arch was emotional, refreshing, and spectacular in every way. I was overcome with emotion due to how awesome the experience was and the gratitude that I was able to close that loop from our 2012 road trip.
Don’t make that same mistake. Life is short. Take a hike!