Yep, we've been hiking again, this time a few hours drive into Utah. ( 4 to be exact ). We joined the Cobble Creek Hiking Club for several days in Capitol Reef NP,. The Castle dominates the skyline. We weren't sure if we would drive over due to some unwelcome bug I acquired for about 24 hours but we took our chance that I would be up to the challenge and headed over to join this fun and active group.
This is the "B" group. Yes, I know that we actually look like an "A" group but they had already been on the trail for an hour and would go farther( 10 mi), climb higher and even do some rock scrambling. The "Bees " enjoy the views, take more pictures, talk more, laugh more and find the path of least resistance.
Dean and Diane were camped in the park and they became a welcome members of the Club. He took a nice video at the top which I tried to add but so far no luck.
Sometimes there were steps….these look benign but most of the time it was just irregular challenging boulders that required careful choice of footfalls…..even harder and trickier coming down.
We were on slick rock and ill-defined trails so we always looked for the cairns to mark the way. Or as we said, "Where's Karen?"
Looking down on the historic town of Fruita, developed by the Mormons and still a working orchard with original farm buildings …….. and fresh pies ! I was strong and didn't give in. For all the walking, climbing, watching the calories and starting out with a bug, I lost a grand total of .2 lbs. Depressing.!
This is an area of serious geological history. The expansive stretches of rock that we walked on looked like wind blown sand in areas and feather markings on others. What looked like cow droppings in some parts ( no pics ) I now think they were oyster fossils….I did learn something at the Visitors Center.
At the end, there is a stream and it was tempting to soak the feet in it. The temperatures were probably in the high 60's with a nice breeze. Near 40 in the mornings.
The next day, a few of us headed out on the Scenic road for more sedate exploring combined with some long strolls on the canyon floor. This is the Grand Wash where Butch Cassidy is said to have hung out and there is an arch named for him.
The canyon walls have the distinctive varnish on them.
The junipers are beautiful with their dusty bluish berries. If you crush one, it smells just like Gin.!!
This canyon has petroglyphs left from the Fremont area (about 1000 AD).
In the late 1800's this was a passage for the Morman pioneers thru the canyon and many left their signature behind. Some mixed in with the petroglyphs. But one ambitious group made a list of their party. Can you see it high up on the canyon wall ? It's easy to miss. How did they do that? I suspect they hung down on ropes.
Sam Gifford had a home in Fruita that still exists and is where you buy the pies !
Dean, Matt and Sue ( Ellen), to distinquish her from Sue, the photographer.
More of the 'Pioneer Register"….
Some of us decide to continue hiking upward towards another geological formation called the Tanks. It was a lot of scrambling up and hanging on for dear life coming down. This is Sue (Ellen )trying to find some footholds on the way to the canyon floor.
Matt and Dean kept going but never did find the Tanks (shallow depressions holding water ) as the trail was not defined at all.
The lizards are small and quick and besides deer, the only wildlife we saw.
Arches down at our level.
This area is prone to dangerous flash floods and water can get 16 feet deep.
In the early 1900's, that gray layer was briefly mined for uranium. It was felt that it had medicinal powers and they would wear the crushed substance in pouches around their neck to cure various ailments. And I'll bet they didn't need lights at night either.
One of the original orchards …. the campground is located here as well and altho beautiful, it has no hookups.
We came back before the rest of the group in order to pack up the wagon , close down the ranch and start the trek east. Altho about half of the hiking club heads south as well, we have many mixed feelings about leaving. We feel like we really belong here and it just feels like home. Florida is beautiful and warm and we miss the Scotts but the mountains will always call us back.
Stay tuned as we travel the by-ways once more ……