Saturday, November 17, 2007

Capitol Reef NP and nearby area

When I was in Utah in October, I spent some time hiking and exploring in and around Capitol Reef National Park and Escalante, Grand Staircase National Monument. On my previous visit I had basically driven through without spending much time. This is definitely an area I could spend a lot more time exploring, both inside the Park and nearby. Going by the main road, the visitor only sees the very northern tip and misses a lot of country. This is an area I will allot more time to exploring in the future.

I stopped at the pullout where the Escalante River trail crosses highway and walked south along the river until the trail crossed the river in a spot a little too deep for me to feel comfortable especially as storm clouds were still hanging over the mountains. Near the highway was a granary and another hiker said he saw pictographs. I couldn't go looking for them as the trail was on private land.

I took another trail south of Boulder off the Burr Trail road, the Lower Deer Creek trail. Very nice and scenic. I saw one spot where a recent flood had deposited a load of debris not far from where I was hiking. I watched the storm clouds more closely then. Not many other hikers on this trail. Later, looking at a map I realized there are lots of good trails in the area to explore, I wish I had spent more time there.

The next day I went into Capitol Reef and took the usual trails, Cohab Canyon and the trail just off the highway, Hickman Bridge. Both were crowded but interesting and offered some good views of the surrounding area. I didn't take the scenic drive because of continuing storm clouds in the area and the possibility of floods. The warnings by the rangers and at the Visitor center were effective especially after seeing on the previous day the results of a recent flood.

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