Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Day 3: Chimney Rock, Waterpocket Drive, more pie.

We were on the trail by 7:30.  

The idea for today was to hike the Chimney Rock Loop and then drive the famous Waterpocket Fold loop, considered by some to be one of the best drives in all the country. 

We started the Chimney Rock loop early because it was basically straight up for the first 3/4 of a mile or so.  Once we climbed to the top of the mesa overlooking Chimney Rock we casually made our way along its edge while taking in views of Capital Reef, and a three foot long gopher snake.  We eventually made it to a small canyon junction that pointed east towards Spring Canyon.  Once again, there is something liberating in being able to just go somewhere because it’s there.  No rush.  No schedule.  No problems.  If you have enough water you go for a hike.  We turned right and headed down towards Spring Canyon.  We probably hiked for about a mile and a half, enjoying the massive canyon walls and shade before we started thinking that the canyon could go on for miles. 

A quick return to the Visitor Center and we were off on the Waterpocket Drive.  The drive headed down the southeastern spine of Capitol Reef National Park along the Notam-Bullfrog Road for about 40 miles.  The views were phenomenal and the Outback took the washes along the road just fine.  Near our junction with the Burr Trail Road we stopped and hiked both Headquarters Canyon (neat little hike with a small narrows) and Surprise Canyon (blah, skip it) before heading up the Burr Trail Switchbacks. 

After entering the Burr Trail Road, one sees this..

That’s an insane set of switchbacks.  Nearly 900 feet in the course of one-half mile.  At the top of the road, we turned around and saw this…

That’s the Waterpocket District of Capitol Reef.  It was one of my favorite views, ever.  We then headed to finish the Burr Trail Road through Escalante National Monument and end in Boulder, Utah.

Um, quick note about Boulder.  Stop at the Burr Trail Trading Post and have Caramel Apple Pie.  Not even kidding, the Apple Pie ranks, easily, in the top three ever.  It was flakey, buttery, and the pie was warmed in the oven, not a microwave.  My wife and I each ordered a slice and savored our $8 masterpiece.  Yes, we were also shocked at the price but if we want the best, fork it over.  Then the quick drive up and down Boulder Mountain and we were back to the cabin, a long days worth of driving and hiking complete.

Hikes: Chimney Rock Loop, some Spring Canyon, Headquarters Canyon, Surprise Canyon.

Miles hiked: 8.2

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