73 Degrees and Sunny
That was the forecast for Central Utah near Capitol Reef and the San Rafael Swell so the decision was easy. Peace Out!
I hadn’t been to the Swell in years so this seemed like a perfect time. I stopped at the Wedge Overlook and gazed at the aptly named Little Grand Canyon (more so because of the Grand and not the Little). The view is big, really big, and with no people around it feels even larger! From the Wedge, I made my way down to the San Rafael River to find a good camp spot. Found it, but then the sunset didn’t cooperate as planned. A rogue band of clouds moved in prior to sunset so it was just flat and grey during magic hour. Oh, well.
The morning brought more sun so I continued on south to Capitol Reef. On the way I learned a few things: 1-Hanksville is really small and doesn’t have a tire shop 2-Fix-a-flat works ok 3-I’d rather be driving on a dirt road than an interstate 4-the Swell is awesome.
Capitol Reef was empty but what ever people were there all decided to do the same hike I was going to do. At least everyone was going the opposite way:) I had the upper section all to myself in perfect light. I purposely walked really, really slow downhill to maximize my time in this amazing place. I was recently writing a friend about National Parks in Utah and I concluded Capitol Reef is my personal favorite of the 5. I love the solitude, the complexity and the rugged, simple beauty. I’ve had many great memories in this park and will continue to have more!
Lastly, I visited the Buckhorn Wash Petroglyphs and was inspired by a few images. One is of a figure holding its arms out and long strands are draping from the arms. This image is often referred to as “rain angels.” In a land of sun, water is precious and seemingly sacred to past cultures, enough so to paint an image that has lasted 2000 years without rain damage. These, along with many other displays, are not hidden and are plainly visible on a major wall along a major river. It is in fact, as if they are on display for the world to see. All of a sudden, time stops. In this place at this moment, what is different now than 2000 years ago? Not much at all. Amazing.