"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grand Wash and Hickman Bridge Trails

There are many great hikes in Capital Reef, and plenty of information about them to help make good choices.  So far I'm going for those identified as "easy," to get my hiking legs on.  Rick was watching football and tennis this weekend, so I struck out on my own one day for a long hike at the Grand Wash, a flat walk on a usually dry river bed going through one of the larger canyons in the  park.

Right away I encountered this little fella, and I do mean little. He was maybe 3" long, max.  He and his buddies were the only wildlife I saw in the canyon.

The canyon begins kind of open and rough, with typical vegetation that grows along the rivers and washes here...

but increasingly constricts down to high cliffs and a narrow, flat bottom. 

Because the cliff sides are slick rock in many places, it sometimes looks like they are spiraling in as they narrow. There was some nice shade along the way, offering a break from the intense sun and heat, like under this huge arched overhang.

It's a one way trail, so after about two miles I came back out along the same path...

but it always looks a little different going the other way.  It was almost a three hour walk, so I was glad I had lots of water with me.

  On Monday Rick took a break form the sports and we hiked together on the Hickman Bridge Trail.  

It's got a little more altitude and gets you to some views of the cream colored domes that the park is named for. The bridge is the endpoint of the hike.  Down in the valley is the road that passes through Fruita, the historic Mormon settlement in heart of the park. There are fruit orchards there (thus the name) and lots of deer who like the green grass and the apples. 

Another evening we took a short sunset drive into the park to see how the familiar features looked in that light. 

I sure wish I had noticed that black SUV when I was taking the above picture.  On all these trips into the park we see so few other people, partly because the peak season is over, and partly because this park is just so remote and kind of overlooked compared to Bryce and Zion. 

I think this area is every bit as dramatic at other National Parks we've been to, and more so than some. 

The towns around it are also not anywhere near as developed for tourism as those around Zion or Arches. We just had to drive 25 miles to the grocery store today. 

Well, since we are officially in the southwest, I changed the look of the blog again, and I'm getting my cowgirl on.  See ya round the corral.

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