Saturday, February 28, 2015

Capital Reef National Park

While we were in Utah for a week in February, Matt and I spent a night at a bed and breakfast just outside of Capital Reef National Monument.  We hiked, hot tubbed, and enjoyed 24 hours without our kids.  Our kids stayed with Matt's parents.  Thank You!!!

Goosenecks Overlook + Sunset Point

Our first hike (can you really call it a hike if it's less than 1/10th of a mile?) led to some pretty look-outs.  We immediately knew that we were going to enjoy our time in Capital Reef.  It's not as popular as some of the other Utah National Parks, but it should be.  It's gorgeous and in the winter, it's empty.

looking down at the goosenecks on Sulpher Creek

Hickman Bridge

Our second hike was to Hickman Bridge.  It's the most popular hike in the park.  It was gorgeous, but not my favorite. We didn't gain very much elevation on this hike.  I liked the hikes that gained elevation better.  At the end, we were rewarded with a 133 foot arch.

I like how you can see the arch's shadow in this picture.

Matt's in this one...running around trying to find a way on top of the arch.  It shows how big the arch is.


Capital Gorge + Pioneer Register + The Tanks

We almost called it a day because the sun was starting to set, but we decided to drive the scenic road and do one last hike.  We were rewarded with  more gorgeous scenery and solitude.  We hiked on a trail that was in a narrow wash bottom with sheer rock walls on either side.

The cool part of this trail is knowing the history of it.  The wash bottom used to be the through road from 1884 to 1962.  It seems crazy to me.  Once you enter the area, you are in it.  There aren't any pull outs or ways to climb out.  If a storm developed, you'd be in trouble because flash floods were common during storms.  I also think about running out of gas or having to stop to remove a big rock.  There is a pioneer register and petroglyphs on the walls.

It's crazy that this used to be the main through road... up until 1962.  That isn't that long ago!

We took a spur trail that climbed above the wash to a few "tanks"
(potholes in the rock that collect water).

The weather was calm and clear and perfect in the sun.  In the shade it got chilly (but still very comfortable when hiking).
We also stopped by the visitor's center and drove around the park between hikes.  The park is beautiful, full of history, and quiet in winter.  We loved learning about the pioneers that settled and farmed here.
When the sun went down, we picked up a pizza and went back to the Skyridge Inn Bed and Breakfast.  It was clean, comfortable, and quiet.  The breakfast was good.  The innkeepers were friendly.  Our room had gorgeous views and a private hot tub on our deck.
 from (obviously a summer photo)
We were up early enough to watch the sunrise the next day.  I always think I'm going to sleep and sleep when I have a night away from the kids.  But I don't.  The following picture is a joke.  I see feet selfy pictures all over instagram and facebook so we took our own... watching the sunrise in the hot tub.


Grand Wash + Cassidy Arch

We did one more hike the second day and then returned to our kiddos.  It was my favorite.  We started in a wash bottom (which I really like), hiked up 670 feet, and then hiked along high cliffs to Cassidy Arch.  It was beautiful and perfectly quiet.  We didn't pass anyone or see another car until we were driving out of the park.

Finally reaching the sun. It felt so good. It was still very shady in the wash bottom and cold.

Cassidy Arch seen from a distance. Top right quadrant.

I'm not afraid of heights.  At least I didn't think I was.  But standing on that arch (Matt's standing on it in the above picture) and looking down 400 feet made my feet tingle. 

We had such a fun 24 or so hours.  I know my kids would have loved hiking and seeing Capital Reef, but it sure would have been a lot harder to have them around.  Hiking with Oliver strapped to your back, holding Clark's hand so he doesn't trip and fall off the cliff, and hollering to Willa to slow down and stay with the group really slows you down.  Thanks again Marcia and Wayne!


Knudson Family said...

Beautiful! I've never been much of a hiker (which my husband thinks is a shame since I am a Montana girl) but it might be because I've never gone on hikes like these.

sinika said...

This looks fantastic! You guys visit some cool places. I wish we lived closer so we could tag along.