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  • Writer's pictureNicole Olsen

Wishing Stars in Arches National Park

It seemed like our luck with the weather had finally run out because when we woke up in Moab, the city of a million outdoor activities, we were baking. The sun was out at full strength with no cloud cover like we'd be enjoying our entire stay in the Southwest. So we immediately set out in search of a cooler outdoor activity and we found it in the form of white water rafting. As far as thrill-seeking goes, this was on the tamer end, but for us newbies, it was pretty exciting, not to mention gorgeous. All around us where the red rocks that define this area but to see them as you rapidly float down the Colorado River was an experience.

When the water was calm, our guide let us jump out of our giant inflatable raft to play in the refreshing water. We were all eager to get in as we'd been dying from the heat all morning, but the second my feet left the boat as I fell down to the water, I realized there was going to be no easy way to get my butt back up from where I had come down so easily. And then the true terror of the white water rafting tour set in, the guide was going to have to heave me back int the boat. As I looked around for other parents in my predicament it occurred to me that they had already thought this through better than me, and while the looked hot from their seat in the raft, they seemed satisfied with their choice to not have their bodies hurled onto the boat floor like a giant hooked fish.

The boys and I splashed around for a good 20 minutes before the guide gave us the news that it was time to come in. One by one he hauled my children into the boat grabbing them by the life jackets and flinging them inside. None of them made it look graceful but the guide made it look easy enough. Until it got to Sebastian. It took an effort of 2 men and me from bellow trying to heave him up without drowning to get that boulder of a kid back onboard. After a moment's rest for everyone as we all were out of breath from that several minute exertion, it was my turn. Getting me on board was far short from easy but thanks to Sebastian it was comparatively unmemorable, which is all I could ask for in my situation.

After a fun day on the river and a great lunch at Moab's food truck park, it was finally cool enough to enjoy Arches National Park . Our plan to avoid the hottest hours of the day and enjoy sunset worked perfectly. We hiked up to the spectacular Double Arch. The boys in typical fashion climbed way too high making me incredibly uncomfortable while hoping they really did know their own limits.

I really hate climbing up high, I am already clumsy on ground level and do not want to test the limits to how much more trouble I can get into from steeper, higher places. But the view from one of the windows created in the mountain was too much to resist. Finally, it was the kids turn to watch in terror as their klutzy mother climbed up to sit and watch the sunset from 30 feet up. We all sighed in relief when everyone was back on level ground.

As the sun was casting off the last of its light we hiked to the Windows Arches with our headlights already in place on our head, ready to watch to the last of the sunlight fade away as the stars began to appear. Arches in the daytime is beautiful, but Arches at night is magical. The milky way was on full display for us. My boys who have grown up city kids admitted that they have never seen a shooting star, so my mission this summer was to present them with as many chances to catch a shooting star. Only five minutes into our star gazing adventure we had all made several wishes, mine being that we continue to have more moments like as we continue on in an endless summer.

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