Canyonlands Adventures

Alright, alright – I promised to make an attempt at updating on some of the things I’ve been up to since returning to Canyonlands, so here goes my best abbreviated attempt.

One day after I pulled on to the Island, A and I decided to take a little road trip (in his car of course, because mine was still packed tight with all my material belongings). Capitol Reef National Park was our destination – a large but largely overlooked member of the park system situated near Torrey, Utah – about three hours from us. We found ourselves feeling lazy on the morning of the departure, which delayed the trip a bit and placed us at the park around 3pm. Still with lots of daylight left to go we immediately claimed a campsite and set out to adventure.

The main event at Capitol Reef seems to be what was billed as a 2-hour scenic driving tour, though I don’t believe it took as that long. It was beautiful, but after a combined 5 hours in the car A and I were itching for some movement. So we set out for a sunset hike on Cohab Canyon trail. Because I’m limited in time I’ll simply leave the description of the hike to this: AWESOME. I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting Capitol Reef. Unfortunately, my computer is acting up and for one reason or another is not letting me upload photos or video to this site. But you can see a video of our view at the top of Cohab Canyon here.

The next morning we arose early and set off on the only hiking ‘route’ listed on our park map. A route is different from a trail in that it’s not maintained, it’s basically a general direction. The advantage to hiking routes is that most tourists shy away from them, and so you often find yourself uninterrupted. The disadvantage is without any maintenance or monitoring, there’s a bit of a question mark as far as what lies ahead of you. The ranger we spoke with at the VC had recommended to us another, actual trail that lead to some neat rock formations, but Austin had spotted pictures of Sulphur Creek in one of the exhibits and there was no turning back. So off we went, following the creek from behind the visitor center.

Technically, that’s what the route did – ‘follow the creek.’ But saying it like that makes it sound so much simpler than it was. Following the creek consisted of not just walking next to the water, but often in the water ankle to thigh deep, as well as on narrow ledges above the creek, and climbing generally anything in the way – including, but not limited to, waterfalls. In other words, it was really freaking fun! And I’m so aggravated with the slow speed of my internet connection and the fact that I cannot post any photos here! Austin has posted quite a few on facebook that you should be able to view on my page, though to be honest I’m not sure what his privacy settings are, so I can’t promise those of you who are not his ‘friends’ will be able to view them. But it may be worth a try.

Anyways, that trip was beautiful and wonderful and so perfect. Oh! And I almost forgot the best part! Before Capitol Reef became a National Park it was a Mormon settlement, so in addition to the spectacular scenery there are many historic structures of interest. One of the things the Mormons did in the reef was keep fruit orchards of all kinds. And these days the National Park Service maintains those orchards and you can go in and eat as much as you want! For free! Okay, so it’s only free if you eat it on the spot, but it’s still not pricey to take anything home with you and picking fruit straight from the tree is super fun. To add to this awesomeness, you can visit a historic farmhouse where they sell fresh-baked pies using fruit from the orchards. So me being me, our trip could not be completed without picking one of those babies up. The delicious blackberry pie A chose is amazingly still sitting in our refrigerator, though there is only one piece left.

So, on to other adventures…

A and I made a day trip down to a popular arch outside Moab called Corona Arch. It’s one of the biggest in the area and rumor has it someone once flew a plane through it. Next to Corona is another beautiful arch called Bowtie Arch. Afterwards we went to the Peace Tree and got smoothies. If you are ever in Moab go to the Peace Tree and get a smoothie. They are the best ever. They have one with peanut butter in it. It inspires me. Photos of this particular adventure can be found on facebook in my ‘Back to the Canyonlands’ album, along with photos from the Cohab Canyon hike in Capitol Reef.

The other night myself and all but one of the ladies up here at ISKY made a moonlit hike out to Murphy Point. We were disappointed at the start as there was a lot of cloud cover and we were counting on a full moon to light up the canyons, but not long after we reached the point and made ourselves comfy on the cool sandstone did the moon emerge, slowly but surely, until even the Colorado River could be seen sparkling below. We sang (yes, sang. If you ever experienced the absolute silence of a Canyonlands night you’d sing too), laughed, and talked about the things girls like to talk about. Then we hiked back and found the boys around a bonfire in housing. It was one of those wonderful ISKY nights with adventure and fire and beer and s’mores and beautiful people. I went to bed in a fog of moonlit joy.

And then yesterday three of us girls went down to Arches, our sister park, to go on a tour of the Fiery Furnace given by Ranger Kathryn, my summer roommate last year on the Island. It was so good to be reunited with my old roommate and dear friend, and see her where she is at her best. Her program was enchanting, and we had a blast.

Oh as excited as I am for Spain, I am going to miss this magical, magical place.

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