Forum Index > Trip Reports > Capitol Reef National Park finale daytrips May 2-5, 2012
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John Morrow
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Posts: 1352 | TRs
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John Morrow
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PostMon May 07, 2012 12:07 pm 
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After the long backpack in the Needles District it was time to look up a friend of a friend in Capitol Reef National Park.
Capitol Reef NP does have a few classic backpacks: the Muley Twist Canyons, Spring Canyon hike-through, The Halls Narrows.  But it is almost more ideal as a dayhiking destination on account of the long narrowness of the Reef itself.
I must be preparing to be home because I dedided on these last days to scramble high points in the park.  Time to leave flat mesas and washes behind for some vertical gain!

May 2:

My friend Pam put me in touch with a friend of hers who resides in Torrey.  He took me up a great crosscountry route onto Meeks Mesa where lithic scatter, petroglyphs, and views abounded.  Gary knows the park as good as anyone, I'd say, and it is great to have a new friend in canyon country.

Gary on the rim
Gary on the rim
The route up
The route up
Meeks Mesa
Meeks Mesa
Petroglyphs and grooves
Petroglyphs and grooves
Old Petroglyphs
Old Petroglyphs
Beautiful Mesa
Beautiful Mesa
Into Spring Canyon
Into Spring Canyon
The Navaho Domes
The Navaho Domes
Descending home
Descending home

May 3:

I was back solo and always wanted to go up Brown Benchmark 8964'.  My approach doubles as the access to Upper Spring Canyon and the potential multiday hike through of the entire canyon I hope to do someday.  The Visitor Center will give good directions to the "W" cleft in the Wingate walls that affords access into the canyon.  Prior to the cleft some great petrified wood is scattered about.


Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood
Lots of it
Lots of it
Whole logs!
Whole logs!
Toward the "W" Gap
Toward the "W" Gap

From there I went upstream in the South Fork and found a neat Wingate ramp exit of the head of the canyon and traversed around the head to the final andesite boulder hop to the top.


S. Fk. Spring Canyon
S. Fk. Spring Canyon
Doug fir!
Doug fir!
Western high hills
Western high hills

Great views of 2/3 of the Reef from the top!

View east over South Desert
View east over South Desert
Capitol BM in distance
Capitol BM in distance
Little traveled country
Little traveled country
Spring Canyon and Reef
Spring Canyon and Reef
The route out
The route out
The Reef and color
The Reef and color

Retracing my route was fun and included the need to find the key red Wingate ramp back into the canyon.  Afternoon colors were great as I descended throught the different rock strata all the way through to the chocolatey Moenkopi Fromation.
More pines
More pines
Brown BM 8964'
Brown BM 8964'
The exit ramp
The exit ramp
Down S. Fk. Spring Canyon
Down S. Fk. Spring Canyon
The "W" cleft
The "W" cleft
Colors!
Colors!
Moenkopi Formation
Moenkopi Formation

May 4:

I heard great things over and over about the scramble of George Benchmark 7289', a prominent Navaho Formation summit in the middle of the Reef and a great Class 2/3 scramble after easy slab sandstone rim and wash approach hiking.  The scramble itself was a thoroughly enjoyable friction and low angle face climb of sandstone with strange iron chickenheads!
Good route description:
http://www.summitpost.org/our-route/551347


Golden Throne
Golden Throne
The Wash approach
The Wash approach
The scramble
The scramble
More fun scrambling
More fun scrambling
View South
View South
View North
View North
Fern's Nipple and domes
Fern's Nipple and domes
View east
View east
Portrait
Portrait
Distant San Raphael Swell
Distant San Raphael Swell
The Throne and sibling
The Throne and sibling
Fun looking canyon
Fun looking canyon
Big Ponderosa
Big Ponderosa
Throne on exit
Throne on exit
Back at George BM
Back at George BM

For my last night in the desert I placed my butt down in my thremalounger at Sunset Point to watch the evening unfold!


The Castle glow
The Castle glow
Moon over Reef
Moon over Reef
Shadow
Shadow
Losing light
Losing light
Cloudglow
Cloudglow

May 5:

Time to say goodbye to another Canyon Country Spring so I began driving the long trip home after a few hour leg stretch in Wildhorse Canyon of the San Raphael Swell.  A last look at a fine pictograph panel.


Wildhorse Canyon
Wildhorse Canyon
Hunting ghosts
Hunting ghosts
Winged creature
Winged creature
White eyes!
White eyes!
Classic Barrier Canyon
Classic Barrier Canyon
Ghostly and faint together
Ghostly and faint together
The wash
The wash
Varnish streaks
Varnish streaks

How I will miss the desert.....

--------------
“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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Randy
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Joined: 18 Dec 2001
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Randy
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PostMon May 07, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Nice looking trips John!

Had a couple feet of new snow in the hills over the last week! Hoping for consolidation soon.
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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors
PostMon May 07, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Capitol Reef is one of my all time favorite places! George Benchmark was one of my all time favorite summit views as well. You traveled some fine country my friend!

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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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El Puma
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El Puma
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PostMon May 07, 2012 8:10 pm 
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Same here - my favorite NP. So much diversity, so unexplored...

I'm overdue for a trip back!
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John Morrow
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Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 1352 | TRs
Location: Roslyn
John Morrow
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PostTue May 08, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Matt Lemke wrote:
George Benchmark was one of my all time favorite summit views as well. You traveled some fine country my friend!

That was on your recommendation to me (and Dean's) a couple years back and it was a great one!  Thanks Matt.
John

--------------
“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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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue May 08, 2012 8:44 pm 
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Fantastic pictures. If someone forced me to spend the rest of my life hiking in desert canyons and mesas instead of NW valleys and peaks, I'd only be a little perturbed. I love how everything is exposed, not hidden under a skin of trees, as much as I like them.

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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John Morrow
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Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 1352 | TRs
Location: Roslyn
John Morrow
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PostThu May 10, 2012 5:35 am 
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puzzlr wrote:
If someone forced me to spend the rest of my life hiking in desert canyons and mesas instead of NW valleys and peaks, I'd only be a little perturbed.

The great conundrum, puzzlr!  What saves me is knowing it is about to get to be 100+ degrees there soon or I may have never come back. It is so simple there.  No boots, no special gear galore, just a map and some water and start walking into scenes sublime....

--------------
“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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lookout bob
WTA proponent.....



Joined: 12 Apr 2005
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lookout bob
WTA proponent.....
PostThu May 10, 2012 6:16 am 
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very lovely TR and pics!! up.gif

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"Altitude is its own reward"
John Jerome ( from "On Mountains")
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Capitol Reef National Park finale daytrips May 2-5, 2012
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