Epic Week

We left on Friday for our land in AZ where we spent the night…and had a visitor…

Saturday, we headed out through Flagstaff to Page, stopping at Horse Shoe Bend.

Proceeded north toward Kanab crossing by the Glen Canyon Dam, we took the Cottonwood Canyon road north to Cannonville.

Then up to Barker Campground in the Dixie National Forest, we camped in an Aspen forest at 9300′ elevation, frequented by deer. 

Sunday morning, we headed east along Hwy 12 along Hell’s Backbone to Capitol Reef National Park.

We stopped for our park stamp, sticker and benchmark magnet, then got pies at the Gifford Homestead and proceeded along the Scenic Drive into Capitol Reef.

We then hiked into Capitol Gorge, observed ancient petroglyphs…

and the more recent Pioneers Register from the early 1900’s…

and finally hiked up to some water pockets in the canyon sandstone. 

Monday, we returned to Capitol Reef to embark on the “Loop the Fold” drive. Starting in Boulder, we first stopped at a Puebloan excavation site, then proceeded up the 12 to the 24 and stopped for pies again before proceeding on the loop along the eastern side of Water Pocket Fold. 

This nearly 100 mile long monocline is characterized by multiple lines of the earth’s surface protruding upward at angles, up to 80° caused by plate tectonic forces producing accordion-like folds of upheaval and drops, exposing 100s of millions of years of strata of the earth’s surface.

Turning west, climbing the Burr Trail Switchbacks and taking the Upper Muley Twist Canyon Trail to the Strike Valley Overlook, we arrived at the most spectacular view of the region, and possibly my all-time favorite overlook.

Finally, proceeding westward we arrived back at Boulder, finishing our 130 mile drive 8.5 hours later.

Tuesday, we hiked to various lakes in Barker Recreational area, along part of the Great Western Trail. Aside from 2 lone  fishers, one mountain biker and a group of 4 hikers, we had the forest to ourselves.

Wednesday, we headed to Bryce Canyon, the original focus of this trip.

We got our obligatory tourist items, then proceeded along the guided audio tour starting from the southern end back toward the north end of the park.

We took several mini hikes/walks to the various overlooks along the way, but planned to hike down into the hoodoos later. 

We decided to hike to Mossy Cave, and ventured to a wonderful waterfall just beyond it while surrounded by towering hoodoos. 

We decided to explore more of the surrounding off-road trails west of Bryce but a recent wildfire prevented completing the loop around the southern end, so we opted for taking a small loop that treated us to an overview of Bryce with some peeks of the hoodoo amphitheaters.

Thursday, we decided to venture to Zion National Park. Just after entering the park, we hiked up to a canyon overlook with some amazing views of the towering cliffs and slot canyon below.

We proceeded to the visitor center then took the shuttle into the canyon to get an overview of the park’s distinct features. We hiked along the river and waded in among the throngs of tourists until my footwear failed me and we decided to return.  We then took the shuttle back to the Emerald Pool trail heads where we proceeded to the lower pool of the three where we enjoyed a cool cave with seeping water and a light misting of waterfall from the upper pools.

Friday, I decided to venture to Powell Point on the southern tip of the Escalante Mountains which our campground was situated in. We had views of this 10,200′ elevation promontory with its pink and white cliffs on many of the days while traveling in the area. This off-road adventure was much more demanding than I’d expected and we definitely pushed Mr. Bumpy and ourselves to our limits, and a little past.

However, the final hike out to the very point gifted us with a final epic overview of all the areas we’d been exploring during the week.

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