All of this time at home has me reminiscing about some of our trips we were lucky enough to take earlier this year, before COVID-19 was even a thing and the biggest concern I had while traveling was if I remembered to pack sunscreen. One of the absolute best trips of my life was this past February, when Ivy and I visited Moab, Utah for the first time! So, in typical fashion for myself, here is an extremely delayed recap on our trip!
I’ve traveled out west since I was very young, taking an annual ski trip to Colorado or Montana and visiting the west coast in southern California a time or two. But I had never been to the desert, and have been dying to travel to see those giant red rock formations and watch the sun rise over the mesas and light up those desert canyons. When I first began brainstorming where I would bring Ivy for her 2nd birthday trip, it seemed like a no brainer to bring her to Moab!
Some of our best friends, Kristen and her pup Winter, recently moved to Salt Lake City, so it worked out perfectly for us to travel into town and head down to Moab with her. Aside from that, I had absolutely zero clue how to go about planning this trip. I had no idea what to bring, where to stay, what the weather would be like, where to hike, etc.. the list of unknowns goes on and on! Thankfully, Kristen filled me in on the basics so I didn’t feel like a complete desert newb out there. I did have to decide whether to camp or stay in a rental home, though. There was plenty of BLM land for dispersed camping, but I had to consider what I would need to pack and bring with me on two flights and a car drive to get down there. That, coupled with the fact I wanted Ivy to have a ~luxury~ birthday celebration, led me to decide on a rental house. But how on earth would I decide with so many options available (it was the off-season, so we were lucky to have a lot of places to choose from)!
That’s where Vacasa came in - they’re a unique rental company that provides luxury vacation homes across the world and makes your stay anywhere an absolute breeze. We were able to stay in their Trails End Retreat home just outside of downtown Moab, and there’s really no way to do it justice with words - the place was absolutely one of a kind and the most amazing place we could have chosen to stay! Our house had an elevated porch, and finished backyard complete with a hot tub that looked out onto a massive mesa and the vast red beauty of the desert rocks that surrounded Moab, with the La Sal mountains in the distance. It’s impossible to put in words how it feels to wake up and walk out onto the porch to enjoy your fresh coffee and watch the sun rise over the most beautiful landscape.. it was incredible and I still have memories of those moments!
We began our trip by traveling into Moab on a Friday afternoon and checking into our Vacasa home. We ended up getting dinner at a local place in town, The Blu Pig, and I ate my weight in a variety of cheese and fried deliciousness. A lot of the spots in town were closed for the off season, but we still were able to explore some of the local art shops and outdoors stores! After exploring town and putting ourselves into a food coma, we headed back to the house and dug into the huge selection of games they had. We started with a childhood flashback playing Connect4, and then finished with a very intense game of Sorry - if you ever play games with us, be prepared for a true no mercy battle.
Our first full day in Moab started with an early morning hike to Jeep Arch with our friends Kristen and Winter, and then some new friends Jessica, Niko, and their pups Oakley and Everest! All of the dogs had an absolute blast hiking with each other, and everyone got along so well - made me a proud momma! Ivy was living her best life, sniffing all the cactus’ and channeling her inner mountain goat hopping around on all the rock formations. The hike was incredible, and Jeep Arch was truly something special to see!
We also did Ivy’s birthday cake and photos by the arch, so she celebrated her birthday one day early! Her cake was from Spotted Dog Bakery, and she’s had both birthday cakes custom made from her shop - this one was out of this world and perfectly captured everything she loves most!!
We hit up a second hike as well with a bunch of friends that came into town a bit later than us - a ton of people that we met entirely through Instagram! Who would’ve thought I’d make true friends in real life through this little social media app - either way, I’m so thankful for it and for the dog friends that Ivy has been able to meet as well! The dogs all had a blast together, playing in the creek that ran alongside this trail and practiced their very best trail manners when we came across other groups of people. We must’ve been a sight to see, a group of girls with eight dogs frolicking along like a dog mom parent’s association meetup. After hike #2, Ivy was absolutely WIPED and proceeded to spend the entire rest of her night snuggled up on the couch - I honestly don’t think she even moved an inch for hours, until we migrated to bed for the night!
Our third day in Moab was Ivy’s birthday! My girl turned two whole years old, so of course the day was filled with activities catering just to please her (but who am I kidding, my life caters to please her every wish so that’s nothing out of the ordinary). She started her morning off with a pancake breakfast and allll the tummy rubs. Her paws were a bit sore from our hikes the day before, so we took it easy with the adventuring - we just hit up a short, easy trail at Dead Horse Point during the day, took in more incredible views, drove around and off-roaded with Kristen and her Jeep and then headed back to watch the sunset later that night! It was a perfect day filled with some of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen, endless laughs with one of my best human friends, and all the perfect moments with Ivy by my side. Our night finished up with a drink and soak in the hot tub at our Vacasa house - I seriously could have stayed there forever!
Our last day in Moab started with an early morning hike to Corona Arch! One of the most iconic arches in Moab that is a dog-friendly hike (the trail is located outside of any of the national parks in the area) so it was perfect to explore with the dogs before we headed out. The trail itself was pretty simple and non-technical, although there was a ladder you have to climb at some point before getting to the arch. The dogs conquered that like some true champions! We were the first people to the trailhead, so we were lucky enough to have the arch to ourselves for a good while before more folks started to show up. I could’ve sat there next to Ivy just taking it all in for hours!
It’s crazy how I can just look at Ivy and I just know that she’s feeling the same awe and wonder that I feel when we travel to these beautiful places. Her face was so blissful and full of joy our entire trip, and the happiness that seeing her like that brings me is unmatched my anything else I’ve ever experienced. Traveling with my dogs is my absolute favorite thing in the entire world, because watching them experience such excitement truly fills my heart in ways I can’t even describe. Seeing their faces light up having so much fun exploring and taking in the sights and nature surrounding them is something that I will never take for granted. The “normal” days I spend at home with them in our “ordinary” life, not traveling, are just as perfect to me; but, there is something really, really, special about exploring the world together that fuels my heart and soul to keep chasing these adventures with them!