Canyonlands, Capital Reef, and Tropic, UT

First, I’m happy to report that the weather today was absolutely perfect in every way.  Sunny with the big white puffy friendly clouds and the perfect temperature for hiking. As I mentioned yesterday we had really been hoping to hike Horseshoe Canyon today, but with all the rain the area has gotten we didn’t feel taking Bob on the dirt access road that is “usually accessible to 2 wheel drive vehicles”. The continuing risk of flash floods was also on our minds.

Still looking for a good hike in Canyonlands we sought advice at the ranger station and were steered toward the Neck Springs Trail. As with everything we’ve seen on the trip it was stunning. I won’t describe the hike, you can follow the link I just posted as it contains all the pertinent details.

I will, however, share the experience of hiking this moderately difficult 5.8 mile hike. Shortly into the first we they spotted their first lizard sunning itself on a rock and named it. The soon found another and named it, then another, and so on throughout the hike.  The amazing thing though was that as they hiked they not only remembered each of the names, but also the sex of each lizard. The also constructed elaborate lizard back stories including who was married to who, where they lived, what they did, why they were separated, and so on. All while climbing, walking, and NOT asking for food or breaks. We’ve created hikers. I guess that’s what climbing a mountain and escaping a flood will do to you.

There is so much more we can’t wait to return to Canyonlands to see, it had everything we’re looking for in a national park. Perhaps most notable, an almost complete lack of other visitors. We saw even fewer people on this trail than we did at Twin Sisters.

The reason we were so excited to hike Horseshoe Canyon was the payoff of arriving at the Great Gallery at the end of it. That disappointment was somewhat mitigated by a brief stop in Capitol Reef NP where some pictographs are visible in a much more tourist friendly location.

From there we travelled Utah 12 through Escalante. It was both beautiful and terrifying. At one point we were on a narrow ribbon of road with several hundred foot drop offs on either side of Bob. Soon after, on a nearly as terrifying portion I was passed by both a UPS truck and FedEx truck despite travelling over the speed limit. I guess they must be pretty comfortable there after driving it regularly.

We’re now in Tropic, UT ready to hike Bryce first thing in the morning. The wifi isn’t great here and cell service is nonexistent so we’ll add photos another time.

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