Moab, Part 1 // Don't Count Yourself Out

March 23, 2017

Ok friends, confession time. I was 29 and had never been to a National Park. I'd lived in Utah, home of the Mighty 5, for over a year, and never been to a National Park! This was an obvious choice for my 30 before 30 list and I was stoked to check it off.

After some research and strategic planning, we ventured down to Moab to visit Arches National Park & Canyonlands National Park. While we were down there, we drove an hour south and also visited the Monticello Temple (another goal for this year) - knocking out goals left & right with just one trip!

We only had two days to spend total between Arches & Canyonlands, so hitting the highlights was a priority. I wanted to get my feet wet in what Moab had to offer, so I could make bigger & better plans for future trips back.

There was so much that happened on this trip, so I've split it into two posts. This is our first day in Arches here and then check out part 2 for the next day in Canyonlands.

Seeing Delicate Arch was a top priority when we went to Moab - obvious tourist choice, I know. But you don't visit Arches for the 1st time without seeing Delicate Arch, right?

The hike was labeled "difficult" and I doubted if I should even try to get there. We sat in the parking lot as I stared at the guide for 20 minutes debating if we should go. I've never been a great hiker - very uncoordinated and a huge whiner - and I was more out of shape than normal. I was berating myself mentally for letting myself get so fat and worried what other hikers would think of me and judge me for how I looked. 

I don't know what triggered it, but the thought took over "Screw this, I don't care how hard or how long this takes, I'm going. I didn't come to Arches to NOT see Delicate Arch. Come hell or highwater this is happening! I can do hard things!"

Turns out, this hike actually wasn't that difficult and we sped through it quicker than a lot of people around us. Once I turned the final corner and saw Delicate Arch in person, I wept because I was SO glad I didn't let my false perception of myself hold me back from experiencing this in person.

The next challenge of the hike was our fear of heights. Delicate Arch is perched on a bowl-shaped smooth rock face and with every step, I feared I was going to slip & fall to the bottom. But dang it, I hiked all the way up here, I am going to get all the way to the arch! Normally, I'd just sit on the side, maybe take a picture from afar and not try anything scary. Challenging this fear was a big deal for me.

Zach & I were both so invigorated after Delicate Arch - not only was it gorgeous and awe-inspiring, but we both felt a renewed sense of mental & emotional clarity. There is a great power that comes from accomplishing a goal you didn't think you were capable of, and even more power if you have to stare down a fear to get there. We loved the Delicate Arch hike more for what we learned about ourselves than for the actual sight.

The weather didn't look like it was improving much after our hike, so we finished the meander via car, stopping briefly at Double Arch, and then drove back into Moab for the evening.


Keeping with our "no plan" strategy, we parked along Main Street to find some souvenirs - we've decided to start collecting magnets and/or Christmas ornaments as a token from our travels (luckily we found both!). As we were walking through shops, we stumbled on this incredible-smelling Mexican restaurant. Honestly, the smell is what convinced us to walk in! Our noses did NOT steer us wrong. The food was phenomenal and we ate far too much (but we hiked like 5 miles, so it made up for it, right?)

Heaven, am I right?!

Eventually, the dessert pangs hit and we drove to a little diner in the residential section of Moab for milkshakes (and french fries for Zach). This was another fun spontaneous find! We felt like we'd found a hidden gem in Moab - the place had been around for 50+ years, was a tiny tiny little place, and was full of local residents. Our favorite way to travel is with an element of spontaneity, so stumbling across two restaurants with incredible food was the perfect ending to such a great day.

The weather was less than ideal that day and we could've tried to see more in Arches, but I don't regret a single minute of that day. Challenging my fear of heights was fantastic, but the biggest lesson I learned was about challenging my self-perception. I've let these stupid self-imposed limits keep me from great experiences. I started breaking this bad habit during my first skiing experience and this hike to Delicate Arch was another significant experience in breaking the cycle of negative self-talk. 

Lesson learned: don't put limits on yourself and don't let fear take over. You can do hard things!

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5 thoughts

  1. Love the pictures & thoughts! Glad you had such a good time! Delicate Arch is gorgeous.

  2. Great postπŸ’œπŸ’œ
    And the lesson learned from your post is that " Don't let the fear to control you from living your life to its fullest"πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

    1. Yes! Don't feed the fear and just live!

  3. Your pictures are amazing! Inspirational post, thanks for sharing!