Monday, July 8, 2019

A Peek Into Spring Canyon

Sand Creek RV Park
Torrey, UT
July 6, 2019

Our last hike in Capital Reef for this trip was to do some exploring in Spring Canyon.  Our friend Roy confirmed that it is indeed a gorgeous canyon not to be missed.  From start to finish, it is nearly a 10 mile hike one way so we knew going in we would only get a sneak peek.  This would be a great over-night hike (not likely for us) or a hike with someone else so that a vehicle could be parked at the finish.  

You might remember that we came across the intersection to Spring Canyon when we hiked the Chimney Rock Trail.  

For Spring Canyon, we went straight
at the first intersection and then took a left at the second intersection.

And we're off.  I love canyon hikes !

We hadn't gone very far when we came to a section of trail completely blocked by huge boulders...some boulder scrambling was in order. 

 And that wasn't the only place the trail was blocked...there were a couple more boulder scrambles.  Fun !
The walk in the wash was easy.  The cliff walls grew taller and taller.   The trail became more and more narrow.  And the shade was glorious. 

We walked 3.5 miles in.  The 3.5 miles out were like a totally different hike.  That's often the case on in and out hikes...we always see new things.  

A few of my favorite pictures...
We saw a mountain you?

Interesting surface to walk on...

So nice to see trees in the canyon...

The only people we saw were these three young people who were hiking the entire trail.  We were taking a snack break when they walked up.   Corey, Allie, and Meghan

This really is a great hike.  Next time I hope to figure out how to hike the entire trail.  Speaking of next time, there is so much left to do here that I just know we will return.  Between the hiking and off-roading we barely scratched the surface.  And a huge bonus...the weather has been awesome !

Capital Reef is near the little town of Torrey.  There isn't a grocery store, but The Chuck Wagon Market has milk and bread.  There are a few restaurants, but we didn't try any of them.  One gas station, a trading post, and several motels finish out Main Street.  It's quiet, quaint, and it is Utah's first International Dark Sky Community.     

Tonight we are settled in at Phillips RV Park in Evanston, WY and excited to be arriving at Colter Bay Village tomorrow.  We have never been to the Tetons either...soooo excited !  So stay tuned !

Until next time,


Last night we drove to Panorama Point in CR to see the sun set.  It wasn't a particularly colorful sunset, but the views from there are majestic.

And this was our front yard when we got home...sweet dreams !

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Chimney Rock Trail

Sand Creek RV Park
Torrey, UT
July 4, 2019

July 4th dawned bright and early...6:08 am to be exact...with sun rays filtering through the window.  

Plans for the morning were to hike the Chimney Rock Trail.   It is a 3.7 mile loop that the NP rates strenuous.  The park suggests doing this hike at sunset to get the best lighting.     

Knowing this going in, I expected the sun to rise enough to hopefully get at least a few good pictures by mid-morning.  

We very quickly figured out why this trail is rated's all up hill !  After starting the trail on hard red ground, a short, but quite steep ascent of nearly 300 feet reaches an intersection.

At the intersection, turn right  to begin the loop.  The climb once again is quite steep.  

Thinking about what is over the hill... 

or around the next turn is a nice distraction from the steady uphill climb.

Chimney Rock Formation is the westernmost tip of Mummy Cliff.  It is easily visible from Hwy 24, but Joe and I thought we would see a lot more of Chimney Rock from this vantage point.  
Chimney Rock is formed with many thin layers of many thin strata of the Moenkopi layer and topped with a layer of harder Shinarump caprock.

From here, the trail heads east along Mummy Cliff and up to a flat summit at 6,634 ft.  
Looking west...

Looking east...

The trail starts to descend after the summit.  

We passed an outcropping of eroded rocks that looked like dinosaur toes.  

It wasn't too much farther when we reached another intersection...signs point you in the right direction.  As you head west the landscape fills with reds, purples, and browns.

 It wasn't much farther and we were back at the first intersection.  What a view of Chimney Rock Canyon.
 The steep decline down was not so difficult.  The surface was hard and there were no little rocks that seem like marbles under your feet.   
Would the lighting for photos have been better at sunset? Yes.  Would we have enjoyed the hike any more if we had done it at sunset?  No.  

I'll close with a few more pictures...

The very loud song of the male Cicadas filled the air.  Did you know that the male's abdomen is basically hollow and acts as a sound box.  We had Cicadas in Georgia...actually I think they are found worldwide...but we never saw them.  The North American Cicadas spend most of their lives as underground nymphs, emerging after 13 or 17 years.  They emerge in large numbers  that overwhelm their predators.  Isn't that so cool? 
 Until next time, 


Oh, I almost forgot.  This is a picture of Chimney Rock taken another day from Hwy 24.  Chimney Rock was once part of Mummy Cliff.  But as the cliff eroded back further, Chimney Rock has withstood the tests of time. Made of harder rock or positioned just right to shrug off the winds and stone-splitting frosts, the natural landmark is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding sandstone.