For our first hike in the Torrey area we decided to head into Capitol Reef National Park. After driving about ten miles down what is labeled a scenic drive, the pavement ended and we continued down a dirt road into a canyon. Apparently this was the original road through the park until the road was re-routed in the 1960s. We’re glad they did, as this road is narrow and winds through numerous sharp curves.
The road now ends at the trailhead for two hikes. We took the trail leading to a rock formation called Golden Throne. The hike was just four miles round trip, but the first two miles to the Golden Throne was all uphill, so it was a bit strenuous.
The return hike was much easier, as gravity worked in our favor. Once back at the trailhead, we decided to check out a part of the other hike that began there. That hike continues up a wash that was once a continuation of the road that leads to the trailhead. It went through a narrow canyon with steep walls on each side. One of the sides had some petroglyphs, etchings on rock by ancient peoples. Right next to the ancient art were more recent “petroglyphs” called the Pioneer Register. The wall contained many signatures of settlers from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. One of the earliest, M. Larson’s signature from 1888 is pictured below. Both sets of etchings are now considered historical. But sign your name today and they call it graffiti and fine you two hundred fifty bucks!
In the last blog we introduced you to Larry and Annette, friends who live in Torrey. If you read that blog you know that Annette presented staff development programs in Pam’s school a few years ago and was the first to introduce us to life in a motorhome. Saturday night they invited us to join them at a local establishment in Torrey called the Rim Rock Patio for pizza and beer while we listened to some live music. Unfortunately, we were having so much fun we failed to take any pictures. So the next day as we drove passed the Rim Rock we stopped to get a few photos.
The next day we were up bright and early and set out for another adventure. OK, full disclosure time. We didn’t get up very “early” and it was just after noon before we set out! As we passed through Capitol Reef NP on our way to a trailhead, we passed the small stone house pictured below.
Living in a 360 sq. ft. motorhome may seem a bit of a challenge, unless you compare it to life in the Behunin family home!
A few miles from the cabin we turned off the main road and headed south for twelve miles to the trailhead for Sheets Gulch. The trail began with a hike of a little over a mile on a dry, sandy wash. Walking in sand is a bit difficult so we try to avoid washes, but we had to do it on this trail so we could get to the fun part of the hike.
After a bit over a mile, the wash began to narrow and the footing became more solid.
In parts of the trail we had to lift a boulder or two out of our way.
We continued up the wash enjoying the great views and flat, solid footing.
Then the canyon narrowed and became a slot.
In a few places our path was impeded by what is called by some “chokestone.” We needed to use all our superior hiking skills to get over these.
The trail again became level as it continued up the canyon.
A description of this hike says you can continue as far as you like up the canyon for many miles. After a little over three and a half miles we decided we had done enough and turned around. Of course, now we had to maneuver back over the chokestones!
After defeating those rock obstacles (again), we continued through the colorful canyon.
If you like to hike through slot canyons, Sheets Gulch should be on your “to do” list. Most of the trail is very easy and the rock scrambling adds a bit of challenge to the hike. But bring plenty of water as the air here is extremely dry. Today the relative humidity was in the single digits!