Capitol Reef National Park finale daytrips May 2-5, 2012
I am from Washington and post on NWHikers. Hope you do not mind just a link but here is a trip report from my recent time in Utah:
After the long backpack in the Needles District it was time to look up a friend of a friend in Capitol Reef National Park.
Capitol Reef NP does have a few classic backpacks: the Muley Twist Canyons, Spring Canyon hike-through, The Halls Narrows. But it is almost more ideal as a dayhiking destination on account of the long narrowness of the Reef itself.
I must be preparing to be home because I dedided on these last days to scramble high points in the park. Time to leave flat mesas and washes behind for some vertical gain!
My friend Pam put me in touch with a friend of hers who resides in Torrey. He took me up a great crosscountry route onto Meeks Mesa where lithic scatter, petroglyphs, and views abounded. Gary knows the park as good as anyone, I'd say, and it is great to have a new friend in canyon country.
I was back solo and always wanted to go up Brown Benchmark 8964'. My approach doubles as the access to Upper Spring Canyon and the potential multiday hike through of the entire canyon I hope to do someday. The Visitor Center will give good directions to the "W" cleft in the Wingate walls that affords access into the canyon. Prior to the cleft some great petrified wood is scattered about.
From there I went upstream in the South Fork and found a neat Wingate ramp exit of the head of the canyon and traversed around the head to the final andesite boulder hop to the top.
Great views of 2/3 of the Reef from the top!
Retracing my route was fun and included the need to find the key red Wingate ramp back into the canyon. Afternoon colors were great as I descended throught the different rock strata all the way through to the chocolatey Moenkopi Fromation.
I heard great things over and over about the scramble of George Benchmark 7289', a prominent Navaho Formation summit in the middle of the Reef and a great Class 2/3 scramble after easy slab sandstone rim and wash approach hiking. The scramble itself was a thoroughly enjoyable friction and low angle face climb of sandstone with strange iron chickenheads!
Good route description:
For my last night in the desert I placed my butt down in my thremalounger at Sunset Point to watch the evening unfold!
Time to say goodbye to another Canyon Country Spring so I began driving the long trip home after a few hour leg stretch in Wildhorse Canyon of the San Raphael Swell. A last look at a fine pictograph panel.
How I will miss the desert.....
05-10-2012 12:31 PM
I love that park. Thanks again.