Vacationing with our baby in southeast Utah, 2005

Page 1: Arches National Park
Page 2: Arches, Moab and Canyonlands
Page 3: La Sal Mountains and Glenwood Canyon

Saturday, September 3

It's Labor Day weekend and Kathy and I have begun our first vacation with a baby - Daniel is 3 months old. We've never tried camping with him before, so we are hoping for the best. We are spending about a week in southeast Utah and hope to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We may also spend some time in the La Sal Mountains or along the Colorado River. We've brought our tandem bike and child trailer for bicycling and a front-hanging baby carrier for hiking.

Tonight we are camped in Arches. The temperature is warm, unlike the cool evenings that we get while camping in the mountains, and the warmth should help Daniel sleep well. We left our house at 5 a.m. and arrived here in the afternoon, just in time to set up our tent before a rainstorm. Unfortunately, we put our tent in the middle of a drainage that became a small creek when the rain fell. We moved our muddy tent to a new spot when the rain stopped and then took a short hike. Our hike took us through some narrow passages between tall rock "fins" and then to Sand Arch and Broken Arch, two of the park's large natural arches. Back at camp we finished dinner well after dark. Daniel has been happy and well behaved today.


Kathy with Daniel at our campsite after setting up our tent.


Michael and Daniel hiking after dinner.


Rock formations just south of our campsite.


Kathy at the base of a large rock fin.


Two children playing below Sand Arch. There were many children in this area, and some parents had brought shovels and dump trucks for their children to play with in the sand.


Broken Arch.


More arches along our hike. The park has more than 2000 documented arches.


A rainbow at our campsite just before sunset.

Sunday, September 4

Distance: 23.0 miles
Riding time: 2 hours, 16 minutes
Average speed: 9.9 mph
Maximum speed: 31.6 mph

Today we rode our bicycle along the main road through Arches, stopping to walk out to scenic overlooks and changing into our hiking boots for one easy hike. We have gone sightseeing in other parks using this strategy, but it is so much different with a baby! Breakfast took longer, packing the bicycle took longer, cleaning up camp took longer, and by the time we set out on our bicycle it was 11 a.m.


Daniel waking up in the morning.

The views along the road are dramatic, with cliffs, fins, spires and arches of sandstone. These features exist due to a thick layer of salt deep below the ground that shifts under the weight of the overlying sandstone, creating large cracks in the stone. Wind, water and ice have weathered the cracks, separating chunks of sandstone into fins, spires, domes and other shapes. The hills along the road are steep, and we crawled up them slowly - Kathy and I are both out of shape, having spent most of the summer caring for Daniel. After stopping at several overlooks we biked up to the "Windows" trailhead for a hike. I hauled Daniel in our baby carrier, and he seemed to enjoy the hike, though he did fuss a couple times and Kathy had to feed him. While I was hiking he mostly watched the ground. In a couple places we sat and rested in the shadow of large arches, and in those spots the weather felt wonderful despite the strong midday sun. The arches channeled the light breeze into a stronger breeze, keeping us cool while we ate lunch in the shade.

Our ride back to camp was a net climb and wore out all 3 of us, so we ate dinner early and hung out on the rocks next to our campsite. This campground is in a rocky area called Devil's Garden that is so pretty that I'm surprised that the Park Service built a campground here, but we do like the views.


Kathy at an overlook early in our ride.


Michael and Daniel in front of an area called the Fiery Furnace. It has this name because the dense, pointed sandstone fins look like flames in the afternoon. Despite its name, the Fiery Furnace stays cool all day because the rocks shade all the crevices that visitors hike through.



These rocks are in the Garden of Eden - an odd name for a dry, rocky area with harsh weather.


Daniel sleeping in his bicycle trailer. Riding in the trailer puts him to sleep very quickly, much faster than riding in a car, and sleeping in the trailer helped him stay happy while we were hiking. If Daniel is crying, he goes silent in just 5 seconds of riding in the trailer.


Getting ready to hike the Windows trail.


North Window and South Window on the left and right.


Turret Arch, near the Windows.


Resting in the shade of Turret Arch.


Balanced Rock.


Kathy feeding Daniel atop a rock right behind our campsite.


Sunset behind our campsite.

NEXT

Page 1: Arches National Park
Page 2: Arches, Moab and Canyonlands
Page 3: La Sal Mountains and Glenwood Canyon