Day 18: Capitol Reef National Park

I woke up in the beginning of Muely Twist Canyon, where it is yet to begin twisting and barely a canyon. I woke up better rested from sleep in the blessed quiet of a windless night.  I woke up in a neutral head space. I woke up. I got up and packed up. Muley Twist awaited. 

Muley Twist was an amazing canyon (turns enough to twist a mule), winding tightly between massive sandstone walls. One of the walls I’m pretty sure was the back side, the uplifted side, of the Waterpocket Fold. It thrust almost one thousand feet straight up and walking next to it was dizzying. Places along the wall have collapsed over eons of floods, leaving alcoves large enough to… I don’t even know. You could fit five big houses, McMansion big. Football fields are the wrong unit of measure, more appropriate for length, but you could fit millions of footballs in those alcoves. The canyon was just incredible (11 miles one way, easy trailhead access, go there and hike it yourself and you will see). 

Around noon we stopped at Muley Tanks, a map-marked water source of a couple giant potholes in slickrock. It was good water, though I felt it likely that at some point this year hikers had come along and swam in the pothole. I treated it with drops just to be safe. We cooked lunch and enjoyed the warming day. 

From there, the rest of the afternoon we followed Halls Creek. Again stunning. Everywhere stunning.  I was so taken with views that I misstepped off a creek bank and my left sacroiliac joint slipped out of place (it does that from time to time) and walking with a heavy pack makes it very difficult to put it back in place. The longer it’s out, the more the surrounding muscles sieze up in response, the more painful it is, and the harder it is to get back in. Even with that dogging me the last two hours of the day, I enjoyed the atmosphere of this place, the mise en scene if you will. The Waterpocket Fold rose to the right in rumples of blonde and red sandstone, and a long red cliff band stood on the left. 

I have a desert in my body. That’s how I feel. Sand and juniper and unfettered wind. Walking through it lays it all out inside me. 

moon in the morning


Muley Twist



Muley Tanks


my feet





3 thoughts on “Day 18: Capitol Reef National Park

  1. Gromit

    You must feel awed by those massive twisting overhanging cliffs. The pictures of erin so small walking along are so appropriate to convey the majesty of what your walking through.



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