Forum Index > Trip Reports > April 22-24, 2011 Capitol Reef NP: Muley Twist Backpack
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John Morrow
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John Morrow
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PostTue Apr 26, 2011 10:09 am 
I have been doing trips to Philly to help my ailing brother, so this brief escape into the canyons is truly spiritual, espicially when I leave the car behind for a few days.

Lower Muley Twist Canyon backpack: a 12 mile long canyon with a loop possiblity back through the Grand Gulch of Halls Creek, connecting back to Lower Muley at the four mile point.

April 22:

I hiked the length of Lower Muley to the 11 mile point where a neat side canyon enters through the red Wingate sandstone formation, complete with water and a beautiful little camp on a bed of juniper needles beneath the trees.  The canyon seemed long on loose gravel, but beautiful with flowers and the ocassional cottonwoods.
first narrow area
first narrow area
varnish and alcoves abound
varnish and alcoves abound
nice colors
nice colors
spring in desert equals flowers!
spring in desert equals flowers!
heading downstream
heading downstream
love the cottonwood color
love the cottonwood color
Cottonwood leafing out
Cottonwood leafing out
Cowboy cave
Cowboy cave

I searched and searched near the narrows for a camp before finding this great spot.

Lower Muley Twist  IMG_3320
Lower Muley Twist  IMG_3320
Nearing the narrows at end
Nearing the narrows at end
Look at tomorrow's narrows
Look at tomorrow's narrows
camp canyon with water
camp canyon with water

April 23:

Plan today was to leave camp set up, head out through the narrows to Halls Creek, view the Muley Tanks and Hamburger Rocks, and a different twist.  The "twist" was to then try an untested loop return by walking low on the Navaho reef southward to the next canyon that cuts through it on the map.  From there I planned to go through it and behind the reef.  Then I'd climb out the west side on the rising Chinle formation to a divide with the drainage that trends back NE into the canyon that my camp was at the base of.  Hopefully no dryfalls or impasses would block my loop back to camp.  What fun, as it went fine!

Starting toward the Muley Tanks:

the narrows of Muley Twist
the narrows of Muley Twist
Into Grand Gulch of Halls Creek
Into Grand Gulch of Halls Creek
paintbrush
paintbrush
Muley Tanks
Muley Tanks
Tanks and Halls creek
Tanks and Halls creek
Hamburger rocks
Hamburger rocks
unknown
unknown

Then work the Navaho uplift traversing  southward to the next canyon. Head west through it to the backside, where I was surprised to see the evidence of the well known uranium mining history of the Chinle:

Down Halls Creek
Down Halls Creek
Try this, does it go?
Try this, does it go?
Narrows go in unnamed cnayon
Narrows go in unnamed cnayon
Nice narrows
Nice narrows
Climbing out into Chinle Formation
Climbing out into Chinle Formation
A route cutting through Capitol Reef
A route cutting through Capitol Reef
like scarlet gilia but not
like scarlet gilia but not
Uranium mine in Chinle at top
Uranium mine in Chinle at top

Then through the divide and hopefully back down the northward drainage back to camp.  The further I got the more nervous I got about a late impasse forcing me to retrace all the steps of the 8 or 9 mile loop:

Then descend this
Then descend this
Does this go?
Does this go?
Whew, it does
Whew, it does
fun exploring, hope it goes
fun exploring, hope it goes

Finally to find a neat arch in the Wingate sandstone just west of camp:

Camp canyon, yes?
Camp canyon, yes?
Capitol Reef National Park, Lower Muley Twist Canyon
Capitol Reef National Park, Lower Muley Twist Canyon
Yeah, it goes to camp!
Yeah, it goes to camp!

This was a super fun loop I highly recommend if travelling on a multidayer in Muley twist!

April 24:

It has been raining a lot since I have been here and this morning was no different, only hard enough to get the washes flowing and make for beautiful skies.
I started through the Muley narrows one more time, but headed north up Halls creek when I emerged through.  This took me up the Halls Creek trail to the Post parking area in 5 miles.  The clay sure was problematic travel once it was wet.  I detoured to a mediocre petroglyph panel about halfway to the Post.
Showers make waterfalls!
Showers make waterfalls!
15 minutes old!
15 minutes old!
one in narrows
one in narrows
Lower Muley Twist-Grand Gulch of Halls Cr loop
Lower Muley Twist-Grand Gulch of Halls Cr loop
Lower Muley Twist-Grand Gulch of Halls Cr loop
Lower Muley Twist-Grand Gulch of Halls Cr loop
beautiful
beautiful
claymation
claymation
petroglyph canyon
petroglyph canyon
glyphs
glyphs
Halls creek and entrada blobs
Halls creek and entrada blobs
barrel cactus bloom
barrel cactus bloom
love the walls
love the walls
last look to stormy Brimhall Pt
last look to stormy Brimhall Pt
Capitol Reef National Park, Halls Creek
Capitol Reef National Park, Halls Creek

Then it was a 2 mile climb back up and over the reef on a great trail called "The Cutoff".

time to climb over
time to climb over
new snow on Henrys
new snow on Henrys
Capitol Reef National Park, Lower Muley Twist Canyon, Cutoff trail
Capitol Reef National Park, Lower Muley Twist Canyon, Cutoff trail

By the time I returned to Muley for the final 4 miles back to the car the rains swelled the canyon wash a bit, but not entirely throughout.  It was wild to come up upon this advancing front of water.  It was never enough to be intimidating, but hard to keep the feet dry.  As usual, it is easier to give up and just get the feet wet.  Hence hiking in cross-trainers.

Navaho, Kayenta, and Wingate layers
Navaho, Kayenta, and Wingate layers
narrow spot
narrow spot
flooded, I'll bypass
flooded, I'll bypass
love the wingate slickrock
love the wingate slickrock
garden
garden
almost out
almost out

Back at the car it was a fine sense of a trip well traveled. Now the usual-late in the day-search for a car camp.

I honestly am not sure what to do next?  On one hand my Honda Civic limits many options because the clay roads are snowy or wet. On the other I can not decide among the options that paved access grants me, that I haven't done yet and I have about 4.5 days more to hike before returning to WA to fly to Phila.

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Davidą
Token Canadian



Joined: 25 Jul 2002
Posts: 3040 | TRs | Pics
Location: The Great White North
Davidą
Token Canadian
PostTue Apr 26, 2011 10:27 am 
I believe this is the first trip report I've seen for this particular hike - looks like a great place to explore.

Thanks so much for the report  up.gif

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Warning! Posts may contain traces of sarcasm.

Hiking Website: http://members.shaw.ca/karenanddavid/Index.htm
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Randy
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Joined: 18 Dec 2001
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Randy
Cube Rat
PostTue Apr 26, 2011 12:15 pm 
Good to see you out in the SW John.  up.gif

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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 2017 | TRs | Pics
Location: Grand Junction
Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors
PostWed Apr 27, 2011 7:26 am 
Another great part of Capitol Reef...did you get a good look at the massive overhangs in Lower Muley?

Love the dryfall uncertainties...I know how that goes

Nice photos btw and well done knowing the geology!

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The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!!
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See my website at:
http://www.lemkeclimbs.com
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ragman and rodman
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ragman and rodman
Member
PostWed Apr 27, 2011 8:22 am 
Beautiful area... thanks for the info... we spent 12 days in CRNP last September and didn't quite have time to fit this one into our schedule... in the Muley Twist area we were able to do short day hikes in Headquarters Canyon and Surprise Canyon, but Muley Twist looks nicer... hopefully next time.

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"Teanaway 70" Peaks List... a guide to hiking and scrambling in the Teanaway Area.
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Yana's Dad
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Yana's Dad
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PostWed Apr 27, 2011 1:29 pm 
Thanks for the TR. I have not been yet in Capitol Reef and your report certainly convinced me what a great place to visit Capitol Reef is. I guess you had plenty of solitude - this makes a trip better. Great pictures... all these shapes and colors; and water and flowers make it even better.

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marta
wildflower maven



Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 1743 | TRs | Pics
marta
wildflower maven
PostWed Apr 27, 2011 1:50 pm 
Beautiful. I love the canyon, solitude and most of all the flowers. smile.gif The scarlet gilia like flower is a firecracker penstemon.  They can really brighten the desert and a favorite of hummers.

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John Morrow
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Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 1500 | TRs | Pics
Location: Roslyn
John Morrow
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PostMon May 02, 2011 5:29 am 
Thanks all for the comments!

Marta:  Thanks for the flower ID, makes sense to me, penstemon like for sure.

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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