Wild Ladies- Canyoneering- Capitol Reef- Day 4- Stegosaur Slot- North Fork

On our last morning, we woke up, and carefully broke down camp….and pulled the sweet potatoes out of the fire. They had cook so perfectly, so amazingly- that they made our breakfast burritos- soooooo goooooood! They were almost caramelized, and with green chili…. Oh man.

Once came was packed up, we drove down to the Hickman Natural Bridge- trailhead, and began- what was supposed to be, a 45min- 1.5hr approach(took like 3).

Rather than turning left for Hickman, we followed the trail to Rim Overlook, then departed the trail up a wash.

Overlooking Hickman Natural Bridge
Looking down at Fruita Historic District, and the Visitors Center

We took a break before scrambling up the wash- to find some dead tree that has an obvious class 3 behind it?– took a while to find.

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Our class 3, Courtesy of Laura Weeks
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Had to be really careful on my knee!

We walked along these beautiful multi- colored bands of rocks to a saddle, then we spread out one of us took high, middle, and low to find the rappel anchor off to our left… somewhere– not exactly well marked.

I wondered how deep this hole was… dared Sarah to jump in…

We worked our way along the steep ridge, and then FINALLY found the rappel anchor. Instead of a deep slot canyon, the beginning of this canyon was wide open, and brushy, with loose rock, and then finally a bouldery down climb.

Walking down the rest of the rock from the end of the rappel.
Working our way down canyon!
FINALLY it’s becoming a slot canyon!

We arrived at our first down climb, and interesting slot section- that you need to use the wedged tree a little bit to descend…come to find out it was actually a rappel.

This was our last view of a sun for a while, we worked our way through a tight slot, squirming single file, shimming over muddy puddles- it was a blast!

Laura, being careful not to fall in- water gets cold down in those slots!
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Courtesy of Laura Weeks

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The view from the last rappel was beautiful- with all the fall colors!

As soon as we hit the ground, we had to bushwhack back out onto the main trail- It was already 2:30- and we had at least 7 hours of driving to do!

We made one stop in Hanksville to gas up, and get out- I realized that we hadn’t been sending spot messages… and everyone at home was really worried. Luckily, they had not called out the cavalry yet, and they knew we were okay, there was no service at all back there.

We had so much fun, and I was lucky that my knee had decided to play nicely, and not snap again this trip. Looking forward to more desert fun in the spring!

Wild Ladies- Canyoneering- Capitol Reef- Day 3- Cassidy Arch Canyon

The sun lit up the horizon, as I sat up in the back of the truck- you can hear the river through the mass of brush on the other side of camp. I got up and made coffee, and pancakes- as we lazily packed up our gear for the day.

We drove back down into the park, and out to Cassidy Arch Canyon. This canyon, rappels through an arch, AND a natural bridge- coupled with a short hike and stunning views- exactly what we were looking for!

I had taken great care to tape my knee up really well, and use the small brace I had bought to go over the whole thing. I was concerned that my knee would crunch or pop at the wrong time. I carefully, and slowly made my way up the hill, and across to Cassidy Arch.

Cassidy Arch, from across the canyon.
Above the arch, snacking and waiting for another group before we descended!

We had our lunch, then made our way to the edge of the arch, and the first rappel- 132′ – of 8 total, very beauiful!

Wait, I have to go way down there?
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Courtesy of Laura Weeks
Looking up through the Arch.
Looking across the canyon

There were so many spectacular rappels during this canyon, so I’ll only show some of them!

Laura through one of the natural bridges!

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Strange way to get to a rappel anchor- might as well be super safe doing it…the cable was attached at both ends and in good shape. Courtesy of Sarah Engel

We scramble our way through this last section of the canyon, and descended our final rappel–then made our way across to the “cave”. The cave was a large rock balanced against the canyon wall, and our only way back to the main trail.

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Fruita Historic District

After we wandered out of the canyon, we went back to the visitors center and had an interesting chat with a volunteer astronomer who comes and does talks for International Dark Sky Association at the National Parks that are members. We were given the opportunity to look directly at the sun, and see a sun spot- SO COOL!!!! He also told us that it was the full moon that night, and to go to sunset point- we’d get to watch the sun set and the moon rise. We all agreed that was an awesome idea!


View before sun set, at sunset point. 
Laura pano-ing!
Sarah taking in the scenery.

After the sun set over the horizon, the wind picked up, and it was quite chilly, we found a wind break so sit behind to watch the moon rise. You could see the sky light up, and when it finally crested the rock, it was so neat!

Once the moon had risen, we stumbled our way back down to the truck, and went back to camp. The wind had picked up, and was blowing everything around, at one point during the night- it felt like the truck would roll over- and Laura/Sarah’s tent almost blew away with them in it! Intense wind, that eventually died down before morning.

We ate dinner, drank some wine and relaxed by the fire, after a full day of adventuring- such an amazing day. Sarah got the great idea to throw some sweet potatoes in the ashes overnight, so as we settled down for the  night- they were slowly roasting away.

I’m very fortunate that my knee held up for the day, and I couldn’t wait for our last canyon!

Wild Ladies- Canyoneering- Capitol Reef National Park day 1-2

So as smart as I am- a week after injuring my knee- I decided I’d just wrap myself up, and carefully go canyoneering with Laura and Sarah. I had been excited for this trip for quite a while- so I wasn’t going to let a bum knee get in my way!

We decided to go to Capital Reef National Park, a bit further than our last trip- but quite a few canyons- and great camping!

We left early afternoon, and camped our first night in the San Rafael Swell… at this point we were so tired, that we just looked for the first turn off without a gate.

It as an almost full moon, and there was little wind- perfect night to sleep on the flat desert. We set up camp near an older cattle ramp, had a snack and went to sleep.

The next morning we woke up with the beautiful sunrise, made pancakes and packed up camp for the drive over to Capitol Reef.

We got back on the road, and decided- that since it was so much later than we had intended- we would look for a good camp first, then go down to the rangers station for a map!

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Our Beautiful Tree- campsite. Courtesy of Sarah Engel

We stopped at everyone of the pull offs, and look outs along the main road of the park- beautiful views- then did a short hike at  Grand Wash.

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Looking at Petroglyphs- Courtesy of Sarah Engel
Gooseneck Point
Gooseneck Point
Just Hangin’ around!

We wound our way back down the road toward Grand Wash for a short hike, before dinner…and a sunset drive out to Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon. We had intended to do a short canyon, but this required a river crossing, and the river was too high, and very unsafe– so we bailed on that idea.

We made our way back to camp to finish set up, have a snack, and make dinner before the long drive out to the Temple of the Sun and Moon- at the far reaches of Capitol Reef.

Fancy desert cheese and beer plate!

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Courtesy of Sarah Engel

The drive out to the Temple of the Sun and moon, was a beautiful 4WD road, quiet, and somewhat adventurous 20 miles from the main road! We brought our dessert, and beer to relax and watch the sun set.

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Courtesy of Laura Weeks

We sat down with our ginger pumpkin pie and watched the sun set over the the horizon, and unbeknownst to us- the moon had come up behind the Temple of the Sun.

The drive back down to camp was interesting, we had to avoid holes that we had seen on the way in…in the dark. We sat down to a nice fire, and went to sleep. It was a great first day, though we did not get a canyon in, at least I gave my knee one more day of rest!

Bluebird Lake- Return of the Knee Injury

Bluebird Lake is a remote, beautiful lake in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike is 12.8 Miles RT, with 2400′ of gain- certainly within my realm of normal activity.

Lady moose near the trailhead!

We started hiking around 8:30AM- this was a club trip- we had an awesome group- and at first everything was amazing. The weather was perfect, and it warmed up in the high 50’s.

Ouzel Falls
Our group!

We hiked pass Ouzel Falls, then above Ouzel Lake to Bluebird Lake- coming to the park in the fall is one of my favorite places to hike.

Greg looking like a mountain man!

About a 10th of a mile from the lake, I was taking a step up and my knee just starting hurting- sharply. I stopped what I was doing and sat on a rock- and attempted to walk up the small slope a few more times- it continued to hurt. We were 6.4 miles from the car, and my knee was not playing nice. After 20 mins of rest, I finally made it up to the lake with the rest of the group, and explained the knee injury to everyone- and apologized.

Bluebird Lake

One of the guys happened to have a patella strap, so we pinned down the tendon that was hurting, and I was able to walk the rest of the way out with less pain. I was lucky we had such an understanding group- and they were really helpful.

Despite all the pain- it was a great trip with some great folk.

Tour of the Moon

I just wanted to share a few photos from my challenge to myself this year- the Tour of the Moon 100K. The ride goes through the town of Grand Junction, to Fruita, then into the Colorado National Monument, then back to the start- I ended up skipping the 11 miles in Fruita.

I have never signed up for a group ride before- I usually just ride by myself-so this was a new adventure. I decided the DAY OF the ride to just ride the 41, as I wasn’t sure if I was physically fit enough to complete the entire ride. I had been having lots of knee problems, and I had to take an emergency trip back east for a funeral- then I was on a road trip. Things got in the way of training, and things often do.

I truly had an amazing time- and I can’t wait till my next ride!

The Great Western Roadtrip 4-5

The wedding was beautiful. It was located at a riverside campground with big trees, and a nice fire pit.

We all camped out, and ate food, and had beer.  The next morning Greg and I got up, and drove as far east as we possibly could in one day. Through the entirety of Nevada on route 50- the Loneliest Road in America- and they aren’t joking.

Peaks in Great Basin National Park

We camped in the Fishlake National Forest in Utah- then drove home. It was a lot of driving- but a lot of fun. I can’t wait for the next roadtrip!

Fall Color in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. 

Great Western Road Trip 3

We decided since our drive was not as far today that we would sleep in, and have breakfast down in town at one of the coffee places. Out of all the towns I’ve visited in California- I liked Bishop the most- they have beautiful scenery, good food, good beer, and friendly people.

View from camp!

After breakfast we wandered our way up to Yosemite National Park, to hopefully drive around and see as much as we could before the rehearsal dinner.

We entered through Tuolumne Meadows, hoping to climb- but ended up just driving around- as it was near 1PM already.

My feet on legendary Yosemite Granite!

Us with El Capitan!
Bridal Veil Falls

We realized at this time, we were going to miss the rehearsal….and luckily not be late to the dinner. So we made our way through back roads, and farms to Placerville, CA. Beautiful drive, took almost 4 hrs…WAY more than we thought.

Luckily it wasn’t an issue- and we made it in time for the dinner…and we even go to shower and change!

I made the skirt… and wanted to show it off!

This was the last of the real ADVENTURE from our trip- but it was really a beautiful trip, and we got to see so much! Yosemite has definitely called to us– we want to go back for at least a week!