July 2, 2018
Sunday, July 1, 2018 - Day 7 of Grand Junction Training Trip
By Hanna Boughanem and Skye Sunderhauf
Day 7 of the training trip got off to an early start! The swimmers had to be in the parking lot by 5:15 am due to an all-day trip to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. The guys, Grace, and Maddie rode in Ruth's car, while everyone else rode with Ray. The swimmers in Ray's car learned about the history of the Arches with a story of the great Moab. The car ride was very entertaining, and before we knew it, we had arrived.
After about two and half hours, we reached the scenic town of Moab, Utah. We were immediately greeted by canyons, red rocks, and the occasional group of bushes and trees. At about 7:30, we had arrived to our first hiking destination, a trail called Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint. This "warm up hike" was a mostly uphill trail, about a mile roundtrip, that led us to a viewpoint of the beautiful Delicate Arch. Several photos later, we had arrived back to our cars to drive to our second trail. If we thought that trail was hard, we had no idea what was to come!
Our second trail was a trail called Devil's Garden Loop; just from the name, we knew it was going to be hard. According to guide books, the trail totals 7.2 miles and should be completed in about four hours. We started the trail at 8:45 and Coach Ray gave us until 1:00 to make it back. The two of us started out in the faster group with Mason, Sammy, Aaron, Jason, Kenny, JJ, Dora, Flavia, and Hailey. The second group included Kelly, Allison, Natalia, Maddie, Grace, Bridget, and Coach Ruth. We decided to stick with the first group because they were going at a faster pace and Mason had done the trail before and knew the way.
About one-fourth of the way through, we stopped at Double O Arch, a stunning arch with two levels. After that arch, we got a little confused. We were unsure of which path to follow to get to our next destination, Dark Angel. In order to reach Dark Angel, we had to follow a dead end trail that led to an extremely tall, pointed rock. Once we had made it back to Devil's Garden primitive trail, a treacherous trail with no clear path, we did not get lost again.
Throughout the trail, we saw a variety of different arches, including the unstable-looking Landscape Arch, the cave-like Partition Arch, and the dangerous Finn Canyon. Seeing these natural wonders was definitely the highlight of our journey, next to seeing a lizard about halfway through! Some of the more tiresome parts of our day included climbing up mountains of sand for what seemed like years and scaling the side of a cliff. We also met many different people who helped us stay on the path and reach the end of the trail. At around 11:35, we made it back with the first group to the beginning of the trail, successfully completing our hike in under three hours! The second group made it back an hour later, around 12:45. Once everyone had completed the trail, we all returned to our cars, ate lunch, and continued to our final "cool down" hike.
Our last hike was to the Windows, which included several scenic arches. This trail, only a mile long, was a lot shorter than Devil's Garden! Every swimmer was extremely tired, but it was fun to complete the last hike. After that final trail, we drove home in our cars and made it back to our dorms at around 4:30. Overall, there were many photos taken and memories made that will last a lifetime. Our journey to Arches was one that we will never forget!