Solo in Utah Pt 2 – Day Hikes and Side Trips

Some day hikes and side trips in Utah over Thanksgiving week. Part two of my Utah trip.

 

What do you do for a living?

–American small talk often found at parties. 🙂

 

If the first part of my Utah trip was about walking all day and being more immersed in the backcountry, then the second part was about day hikes, side trips and even a little leisurely wind shield touristing. (Is that a word? 🙂 )

After my Coyote Gulch experience, I made my way up Hole in the Rock Road and decided to take a day hike to Broken Bow Arch.

Near the trailhead, the views towards the Straight Cliffs and the plateau above was a sight that was impressive in its own right.

Arid, rugged and starkly beautiful.

The trailhead at Willow Gulch was reached and my hike quickly began.

Before dropping into the canyon proper the  well known, if unofficially named, Mortarboard Rock was spotted.

From there, the wash was descended into. Sand stone, cacti and willow (hmm?) abounded.

The hike went quick with the canyon became iincreasingly narrow.

Then the canyon opened up.

Broken Bow Arch was revealed. And I had it all to myself.

Enjoyed the view and the quiet. Just sat there with no concept of time.

Eventually I headed back up the canyon and made a side trip to Dance Hall Rock.

The history buff in me tried to envision what it was like  for the early LDS pioneers to explore this area and relax in the very spot I was standing. 150+ yrs later, the spot still had good acoustics (even with my very off-key warbling)

The side trip theme continued, often just stopping to take in the scenery I had to myself.

To get back to the town of Escalante, decided to take a back road and see the plateau up more closelly. I had an idea for a hike next year and wanted to check it out.

My views from the high point above Cedar Wash would not be disappointing.

After visiting the Escalante Visitor’s Center, I decided to make my way slowly back home. A camp was had in the nearby Dixie NF where I was treated to a brilliant winter sunset above the desert. My camp at 9000′ was cold and crisp among the pines.

Woke up early, brewed a cup of coffee and decided to stop in Capitol Reef National Park.  More for day hikes and car camping, it is still a beautiful place with amazing rock formations and history.

Castle Rock in Capitol Reef NP

Roadside petroglyphs

Even two more days was not enough.

I always get slightly depressed after these trips. I should have done more. Seen more. Went back later.

Then I arrive home. I pore over the maps. I talk about the trip. The journey is shared.

I realize I will be back again.

And all is well again.

The job is what I do to pay the bills.

Exploring the desert, seeing where others walked before me and seeing a winter sunset is what I truly do for a living.

I’ll be back.

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