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Exploring Utah's Arches National Park

Kidsday reporter Francesca Papetti and mom, Toni Papetti,

Kidsday reporter Francesca Papetti and mom, Toni Papetti, in Utah. Photo Credit: Papetti family

Over the summer, my mom and I journeyed to Moab, Utah, to explore the national parks in the area.

After a long flight, we landed in a small airport in Moab, where we were hit with a brutal 114 degrees; brutal compared to the mere 80 degrees in New York. After checking in at the hotel, we headed straight for the park. Arches National Park is filled with breathtaking rock structures formed from many thousands of years of wind erosion. Standing in the park, you feel like an ant compared to the giant stone monuments Mother Nature carved. The colors vary from light orange to dark, vibrant red.

The first trail we took was Park Avenue, a moderate trail about one mile long. The trail did not curve around in a circle, so if you wanted to return to where you started, the hike would become two miles. We decided to hike only one mile. The trail started off with steps roughly carved out of the stone that headed deeper into the valley. The trail itself was approximately four feet wide and lined with desert plants. The trail is between two great sandstone slabs that create a beautiful skyline, especially at sunset. The park has a clever way to keep guests on the trail and away from the fragile ecosystems lurking off the trail. If it appears as if the trail might change, they place a small stack of rocks lining the path ahead. This came in handy for me multiple times. At the start of the trail, there is a group of breathtaking sandstone towers called the Three Gossips.

The last, and possibly my favorite hike of my trip, was The Windows. The Windows are giant arches around 90-feet wide and 48-feet high. We took the difficult path around the arches that changed the most in elevation. The hike started with an incline surrounded by plenty of desert greenery. The trail was mostly dirt, whereas the Park Avenue’s trails were stone. At one point, we needed to climb a very steep part of the stone that is about six feet high. After we made it up, we were blown away by the view before us. I climbed toward the edge of the cliff where it drops down into the vast canyon that stretches out for miles and miles on end. We rested there for a few minutes admiring the view. We finished the hike where we began, right in front of the North Window.

My journey to Utah was unique and exciting. I am so grateful that my mom and I were able to go and experience the wonders of Arches National Park.

Info: www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm

Clara Villani’s Newspaper Club, Brother Joseph C. Fox Latin School, Kellenberg, Uniondale

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