The rest of the photos for this hiking day are here>
The wind blew most of the night, bringing fresh, cool, dry air with it. The humidity must be under ten percent and the moon was brilliant even though it is now less than full. I couldn’t sleep last night, in spite of the fresh breezes, and stayed up writing and looking at photos. For some crazy reason, the wireless connection that didn’t work at all earlier managed to work fine after midnight. Now, at 8 or so in the evening, I still have no wireless. I don’t plan to stay up till midnight again tonight posting photos, believe me!
Morning was cool and breezy, perfect for a hiking day. Our camp hostess gave us the number of a dog groomer who was also willing to board Abby for the day so we could hike without worry. In spite of the cool morning, we turned on the air conditioner for Jeremy, left behind safely in the MoHo.
Breakfast at the Capital Reef Inn and Cafe was light and perfect and we traveled back along highway 24 east to the park entrance. One of the first park trails after entering the park is the Chimney Rock Trail, and as many times as I have been here, I never bothered to hike this one. However, a great hiking guide book I found at the cafe this morning discussed Spring Canyon, just beyond the Chimney Rock Loop trail, and we decided that it would be a perfect days hike.
I have too many photos of this canyon. Photographers far better than me with equipment far finer than mine still can’t capture the grandeur and majesty of these canyon walls. We hiked about 4 miles into Spring Canyon, through narrows with walls 400 feet tall on both sides. It certainly didn’t qualify as a slot canyon, with the narrowest corridor maybe 50 yards wide, but it filled my heart’s desire to walk between massive walls of Wingate sandstone and feel the color red. You don’t see red in these canyons, you feel it.
Of course, after eight miles and less water than I should have carried, I was feeling red in a different way, and climbing out of the fairly easy hike into the canyon just about did me in. It was only in the mid 80’s but the sun was intense and the breezes were sporadic. When we finally reached the switchbacks half a mile from the trailhead, I looked down and wondered how in the world we actually climbed up that that thing! I was glad for my hiking sticks, believe me, and my knees were grateful, too.