How much risk are you willing to take on the trail?
Yesterday we hiked the Devil’s Garden Loop in Arches National Park. The first couple of miles are flat and easy but beyond that the trail gets much rougher. In those early miles we faced some minor challenges, but nothing that felt unsafe to us. A few hikers warned us that they had to turn back later on the trail as they weren’t comfortable with the steep and slick trail. These hikers didn’t have great shoes so we decide we’d keep going to check it out for ourselves. At 4.5 miles into our loop we reached a sketchy down climb. The rock we had to climb down was getting slippery from the sand on everyone’s shoes. But it wasn’t anything we couldn’t tackle without a little teamwork. However, once we crossed that obstacle we came across a slick 50-foot long traverse of a slanted ledge over a 20 foot drop off. We had to decide whether we would cross this risky obstacle or face hiking back out the way we came. As a team, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk of traversing that ledge as a fall would be catastrophic. It was hard to turn back, but it was the right thing for us to do. Especially with the kids along. On the way out we passed several other families who would soon have to make the same decisions for themselves. We let them know what was ahead, but like us they kept hiking to see for themselves. We did convince one new mom to turn around and we offered to hike out with her while the rest of her crew continued on.
The video covers just the parts of the trail that we would do if we were to hike it again. Once things started getting stressful we put the camera away.