Capitol Reef National Park 1, Me 0
The first week and a half of my adventure has been just that. An adventure. I have much to say so I’ll begin with Capitol Reef National Park for the first post. Stormy skies were all around as the rain came down lightly. The back road through Upper Cathedral Valley is pretty remote and I imagine it’s not the most fun in the slick mud. Luckily, the rain let up and the road was fine. My first objective was to backpack through the Upper Mulley Twist so I headed up the Burr switchbacks to the trailhead. Again, not a place to navigate in wet weather.
The hike in was extremely windy. My typical 4pm alpine start had others looking at me oddly as they hiked out for the day. With high winds and the other hikers saying they almost got blown off the top, an easy decision was made to camp in the creek bottom. A nice early night with dying winds, then a wind switch.
At 3am I woke up to light snow and shortly after I couldn’t hear it falling on the tent anymore. Sweet, just a dusting. I didn’t realize that the reason I couldn’t hear it was because it covered the tent and was now dumping.
It stopped snowing as it got light out and I jumped out of the tent, ate a quick bowl of oatmeal, slugged some coffee and grabbed my tripod/camera. It was magical.
For the next 3-4 hours, I enjoyed one of the best mornings of photography I’d had in a LONG time. Snow in the desert creates such a contrast of extremes for meaning, temperature and atmosphere. The soft filtered light of clouds, fog and light snow made the beautiful conditions nearly surreal.
The normally dry creek came to life with melting snow. Waterfalls appeared. Miniature avalanches slid down the rock faces. The contours and shapes of everything were revealed. I was literally in photography paradise. The snow had prevented any vehicles from coming up the 4wd road until later in the day so I also was in the paradise alone:)
With the snow and questionable back roads, my backpacking trip was cut short. I wasn’t looking for snow camping or mud camping so I strolled out the canyon at a snail’s pace click, click, clicking. My next adventure was waiting out of Escalante along the Wolverine Loop Road and the Smokey Mountain Road so I headed out.
I’ll summarize the next adventure briefly: Wolverine Loop is AWESOME and will get a separate trip once I return home. Smokey Mountain gave me a flat tire and I abandoned the trip for repairs. Instead, my next objective was the Grand Canyon and it did not disappoint. I’m still in shock from that place. Wow.