National Park Series #6
Capitol Reef – 1989 – Wow, that brings back a lot of memories! We graduated from two little tents to one big tent. And, as you can see, our helpers were getting bigger as well.After getting the tent set up, we took a short hike to view the town of Fruita, where the campground was located. Notice it’s an oasis in the middle of red rock.The next day we started driving all the park roads (the red lines), and stopping at the overlooks. This was Goosenecks.And of course we had to do some hiking. (I would guess that all of us did about 25 miles during the week, while Weston joined Wayne on an additional 15 or so. Then Wayne had his own 10+ mile hike, but we’ll get to that in a minute.) This was on the Hickman Bridge trail, and it’s the site of the famous “lost shoe” story (which will have to be told some other time).The boys loved all the “caves” that we stumbled across on the different trails. This one was in Grand Wash.This is River Ford. You had to drive through it to reach Cathedral Valley. That was a pretty nerve-wracking experience, at least for me. The boys thought it was pretty cool.But this is what you got to see on the other side.And this is what the southern end of the park looked like. The end of this day included a long, long drive down a bumpy dirt road (hours longer than we expected) and a closed gas station when we were out in the middle of nowhere when we needed it. Prayers work, and we were able to find a 24-hour gas station 30 miles further down the deserted road to save us from running out of gas.On our final day there, Wayne decided he wanted to hike one of the gorges (from Sheet’s Canyon on the Notom-Bullfrog road to Pleasant Creek on the main park road). We dropped him off bright and early, spent the day relaxing in camp, and then drove down to pick him up. While we were waiting, the boys had a great time playing in the warm creek. However, when he was a couple of hours past the expected arrival time, it began to be less fun. We took the hour drive back to camp to see if he had showed up. When he hadn’t, I contacted the ranger. We drove back to Pleasant Creek with the ranger, who was positive Wayne would be waiting for us. He wasn’t. So we spent the night waiting in the car. It was a gorgeous, starry night with a full moon.
It turns out the trail wasn’t marked properly! There was a fork in the creek bed that didn’t show up on the map, and so he went the wrong way. Eventually he realized the mistake (after all, he does know how to read a topographical map), but by then it was too late. Consequently, Wayne insists he was never lost. He was stuck. That’s because he was climbing down gullies like thisand this.Once you were at the bottom, it was impossible to go back up. So he ended up spending the night on top of a rock like this one. (The day before we left I learned that I was pregnant. It was a long night wondering if baby #4 would ever know his dad, yet the comforting peace of the Spirit assured me that he would.)The next morning he somehow figured out a way to get back to the Notom-Bullfrog road and started hiking back the long way. A rancher spotted him, gave him some water, and notified the rangers who were then able to go pick him up and give him a ride back to camp. Fortunately it didn’t take long to recover from the scratches and bruises and dehydration. It was a long ordeal, but it makes a great story!
I think Brad (at 15 months) had the most fun!