A Solo Stroll Near Capitol Reef

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,281
May 4-5, 2018

This was my first true solo trip. I had attempted to go in November of 2016 to Lake Blanche, but I ended up unable to find a good place to stake out my tent, and I hiked out in the dark. I was determined not to let anything similar happen this time.

I had wanted to to visit this area after looking at it on some maps, getting some inspiration from a trip @WasatchWill did in the area, and seeing some interesting photos on Panoramio (rest in peace). It exceeded my expectations, and I didn't see a single person while I was out there. Here comes a photograph overload.

I started by a reservoir. Nice and quiet out there that morning.
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My route then took me off the road and through some land used to graze cattle. I came up on a barbed wire fence and followed it to a pretty large corralling area.
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Then it was more road walking for a bit. I ended up doing a pretty good bit of road walking on this route, but I didn't have to share the road with any vehicles, so I had no problems with it. Come to think of it, nearly all the times I wasn't on a road, I was bushwhacking/off-trail, so I guess that gave me a pretty good mix.
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Looking toward one of my objectives for the day.
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Descending to the creek.
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I love this creek.
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I headed left. Unfortunately, there was no flowing creek that way.
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It looked like this.
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But then I climbed up out of it when it terminated in a dead end.
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There were some cool arches up on this rock formation. I got a bit closer, but it was pretty bushwhacky to get there.
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Looking back the way I came.
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I had a snack, and then I did a little routefinding to get over the ridge and on with my route.
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Nice to see the indian paintbrush growing.
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As I was crossing through a field of sage and juniper, I came across some interesting flaked rock, all localized in one area and in various colors. I'm not educated enough to know whether it was natural flaking or human-caused. I'd like to think it was human caused.
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I pressed on and got back to the creek. It made for excellent walking, and the cold water felt good on my feet.

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Once I reached this confluence, I headed up the creek on the right. It wasn't as pleasant. The water in it was warm, since the flow was so much lower.
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But there was a nice little waterfall.
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It was still pretty too.
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I was headed up the canyon to an old cabin I had seen a photo of on Panoramio a few years ago. Turns out the location was accurately tagged. Have I mentioned how much I miss Panoramio? Anyway, I followed the creek for a bit, but then I decided to follow what appeared to be a path cut for an old telegraph line. There were still poles in many places, but I don't recall seeing much wire or many insulators. It was kind of a rough route, and you can tell in places that ATVs like to use it.
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I got to the cabin and took a break. By this point, I think I had pushed myself a little too hard in the heat of the day. I had probably gone 12 miles, and without any other people with me, I had just been going and going. Sitting in the shade and rehydrating seemed to help.
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"R Allen OCT 3[?] 1949"
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The rest of the walk to camp was on a road.
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Showing my BCP colors.
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This was a very welcome sight. I camped in that clearing just across the creek. It's reachable by 4WD vehicle, but I wasn't too worried about anyone coming by.
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I still had about 5.5 hours of daylight left by the time I had camp set up. I passed the time by exploring every nook and cranny around and then reading my book about the 1871 Hayden Expedition to the Yellowstone area. Passing the idle time was easily the hardest part of going solo. I just didn't know exactly what to do with myself for that long.
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There were some awesome rocks nearby.
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Sleeping with no one else around was much easier than I anticipated. I thought it would be the most challenging aspect of going solo, but it wasn't any more difficult than when I go with other people. That was a relief, and I'm kind of glad that I didn't see anyone all day, since I now know that I do fine even in a place where there are no people anywhere very close by.

I got up and headed out early in the morning, as I had family plans for later in the day. I saw some sights from the day before.
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Back near the reservoir, I saw these big kitty prints.
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And then it was back around the lake to the car.
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Great trip! Happy to finally say I've successfully backpacked solo, even if it was just one night.
 

Perry

Formerly Cuberant
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Aug 8, 2016
Messages
2,029
Sounds like a great trip for your first solo! Thanks for the report.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

John Morrow

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May 22, 2015
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Last edited:

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,281
Looks definitely like lithic scatter there.
That's what I like to hear! I thought the shapes and varied colors, combined with how they were concentrated in one area of a big field of sand and bushes seemed to point that direction.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,281
Unique and interesting choice for a backpack! I touched the edge of your route from Pleasant Creek and the Scenic Drive in this trip report:
https://backcountrypost.com/threads/capitol-reef-natl-park-dayhikes-march-29-april-2-2018.7620/
Really want to scramble the Salmon. I have a dream of a loop using your steps as part of it after crossing the Reef. Thanks for sharing! I was really surprised with the depth of the arroyo cutting in the area.
Thanks! Unique and different was part of what I was going for. I'm trying to go off the beaten path more often with my trips.

I wish I had spent more time by the Salmon, getting close to the arches. I thought I'd be more crunched for time than I ended up being, so it was a fairly quick visit.

I read your trip report back when you initially posted it, and it got me pumped up for this trip. Your pictures also helped confirm I'd be able to cut over to the road from the Salmon. So thank you!
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
Great writeup. Looks like a really cool place. Is that a Stratospire? How do you like it?
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
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Joined
Apr 8, 2015
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742
What was the book you were reading on the Hayden expedition?
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,281
Great writeup. Looks like a really cool place. Is that a Stratospire? How do you like it?
Thanks! Yeah, it's a Stratospire. I love it. It packs down so much smaller than my previous tent, and the weight is great for a double-wall. I was worried about being able to pitch it in the desert when I first got it, but it's been no problem. Soft sand makes it a little trickier to set up, but not overly so.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
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Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
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Pretty neat to see those cabin remnants. I haven't been up that other fork you went up to find that. Since you didn't name anything in your report...I'm wondering how I'm going to do mine now since I just went through that area again, and beyond. I figured I'd still name some things, but we'll see. Definitely surprising how much solitude can be had down there, even with the roads and ATV tracks all over. Over this last weekend, I did see two different trucks driving the road that crosses the creek down there, one on Sunday evening, and another Monday morning.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,281
Pretty neat to see those cabin remnants. I haven't been up that other fork you went up to find that. Since you didn't name anything in your report...I'm wondering how I'm going to do mine now since I just went through that area again, and beyond. I figured I'd still name some things, but we'll see. Definitely surprising how much solitude can be had down there, even with the roads and ATV tracks all over. Over this last weekend, I did see two different trucks driving the road that crosses the creek down there, one on Sunday evening, and another Monday morning.
Oh, don't change the way you'd write it just because of me! People could easily find this stuff from the pictures I shared and such.

Really looking forward to seeing your report. I'm already looking forward to my next trip that way.
 

Miya

Because I am able.
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Joined
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Messages
1,231
Yay! Congratulations on completing your first solo. Glad to hear the falling asleep part wasn't more difficult for you.
Thanks for the share!
 

Dreamer

off my rocker
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Jun 14, 2016
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207
As well, congratulations on your first solo. Good luck on the next.
 

AKay09

Member
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Mar 10, 2015
Messages
94
Passing the idle time was easily the hardest part of going solo. I just didn't know exactly what to do with myself for that long.

Congrats on your first solo! Looks like a really unique place with some cool variation in the surroundings. I just did my first solo a few months ago, still need to upload a trip report, but that was my biggest issue as well. I did a lot of wondering around but still just always had this feeling like there was something I should be doing but I knew there was nothing. Looking forward to trying it again though and seeing if I can move on from this feeling.
 
Last edited:

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,281
Congrats on your first solo! Looks like a really unique place with some cool variation in the surroundings. I just did my first solo a few months ago, still need to upload a trip report, but that was my biggest issue as well. I did a lot of wondering around but still just always had this feeling like there was something I should be doing but I knew there was nothing. Looking forward to trying it again though and seeing if I can move on from this feeling.
Fantastic! Looking forward to seeing your report! I think I may be going on another solo this weekend, so we'll see if I can do a better job with my downtime this time around. Haha.
 
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