The Pioneer Loop. Day 10: Capitol Reef.

29 September 2018.

(Location: Capitol Reef National Park)

We had agreed to get up and out early so that we could hike earlier before it got too hot. Unfortunately, we didn’t set the alarm clock and I didn’t wake up until 0814. I was so surprised that I wondered if I had got the hour right in my watch but, yes, it actually was that late. Ah well.

So we relaxed, had a coffee and then went down to breakfast, where we just had cereal or porridge. After that, I drank another coffee sitting on the balcony and we got ourselves ready for hiking and set off to the park, driving down the Grand Wash to the Cassidy Arch trailhead. We have done this hike only once before, the first time we visited. I thought it likely that the trail would be in full sun, with little shade, but there was a strong breeze, which I hoped would cool things down a bit.

We set off down the wash which was in shade at that time.

After a quarter of a mile the trail started up the canyon wall, via steps cut in to the trail and a series of switchbacks. It was soon in the sun and already hot.

We climbed slowly, following a plod pace, sipping our drinks and stopping whenever we happened upon some vague shade from a Juniper tree, although these were infrequent. It was hot. The thermometer hanging from Andrew’s pack (which would be in the sun too) registered 101F.

The scenery was fantastic though, and the views did take the mind of the heat a little bit. After a mile of climbing, we could see the Arch on the opposite cliff, along with people walking on and around it. We kept going…

Once we got within 0.2 miles however, we were on an white and orange slickrock bench. This radiated the heat back up, intensifying the air temperature and the sun’s radiation. It was just too hot. We retreated from the sandstone bench and found a cool spot under a Juniper tree to cool down a bit. Despite it being breezy at low levels, there was very little wind on the walk, presumably we were shielded by the cliff, just what we didn’t want!

After a test and some energy food we headed back down, going at a reasonable pace. When we reached the wash it was now in full sun and even hotter than most of the hike. We walked as quickly as possible to the car, turning the air con on to full speed (we have dubbed this ‘ice cream head’ setting as it generally cools your head to the point of pain, like eating ice cream…) and right down to 60F! Sitting on the seats was a whole other problem for the first minute or two!

Our hike video is here:

Cassidy Arch trail

Once comfortable we drove back along the scenic drive road to the orchards. We decided to pick a few apples, surrounded by deer who were clearly quite comfortable around people.

We then walked along the river trail (actual air temperature was 87F by the way) to the Gifford House where there was a Harvest Homecoming event on today. This comprised some stalls demonstrating crafts such as quilting (they invited me to have a go, I declined, but did share Mum’s quilting interest with them); rug making; branding and leatherwork. At the latter, they made me a key fob to keep. There was also a band made of locals and employees (the singer was the biology expert in the park). It was a pleasant and relaxing stop.

After walking back to the car, passing more deer, we decided to drive along Highway 24 and stop at the various viewpoints.

This video doesn’t exist

I also took pictures of petroglyphs and the old school house.

We finally visited Panorama Point, aptly named, before returning to the hotel.

After coffee and cookies and a laundry session we showered and then went to La Cueva again for dinner.

At around 8.30pm we went outside the back of the hotel and I took a couple of night sky photos. We also saw the best shooting star I have ever seen, slow enough to see a long trail, and very bright. Then it was blogging, photo sorting, video editing, tv, apple eating and, finally, bed!

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