Thursday, November 14, 2013

Upper Muley Twist Canyon Hike - Capitol Reef

In June, I took a quick trip down to Utah's least popular National Park: Capitol Reef!  I'd never been before, and some friends were going down to do a hike and to check the park off their list.

We left Salt Lake after work on Friday and got down to the park pretty late.  The hike we were doing was actually about 30 miles away from the main part of the park on dirt roads.  We got to the trailhead around midnight and laid out pads and mattresses and slept under the stars and the "super" moon, which was so bright it was actually a little annoying when I was trying to sleep. :)

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We came across this cool looking valley shortly before arriving at our destination for the night and stopped to get out and admire the view.  Obviously the photo doesn't do it justice.

We woke up fairly early and hit the trail.  It was about 10 miles round trip, with most of the hike consisting of a loop, half of which was up on the ridgeline facing the Waterpocket Fold, the geologic highlight of the trip. It's a fold in the earth's crust that makes for some cool ridges, that runs for over 100 miles.  It was pretty cool to look at.

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Not far from our campsite

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Cool rock near the trailhead

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Getting started

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There were lots of cool rocks like this

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Group shot (minus Sesh) with the Waterpocket Fold in the background

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Better look at the Fold

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Hey look! I was there too!

I also stitched together a panoramic view of the fold, but I don't think it will share too well in this narrow space. I did post it to Flickr though.
Other highlights of the hike included some cool redrock, heading a little bit the wrong way down a dead-end slot canyon, lunch in another shady little slot canyon, and pretty much having the place to ourselves almost the whole time. We finally crossed paths with a handful of other hikers near the end of the day.

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For some reason this hillside reminded me of gelato

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Here's a close up on the arch in that last shot

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Nearing the halfway point

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Here's where we hit a bit of a dead end and had to backtrack to figure out where the trail went

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A shady spot for a break

Beside the Waterpocket Fold, the other advertised highlight of the hike was Saddle Arch, which I kept an eye out for throughout the hike.  It turned out to be on the other side of the loop from where we started, just before getting back to the beginning of the loop. By the time we passed it, I didn't have a ton of energy to clamber up the rocks to get a better view, so I just had to make the most of the 20x zoom on my new camera to make it look like I got up there. :)

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Saddle Arch

It was a nice long hike and my iffy hip was definitely feeling it by the end.  At one near the end, I thought about stopping to rest, but worried that I'd be unable to get back up again. :) But I was glad I went and pleased to survive the hike.

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I made it!

We got done in the afternoon and made our way back up to Salt Lake, stopping for dinner in Salina.

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Mom's Cafe

All in all a fun weekend trip.

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