Monday, June 25, 2012

Last days at Capitol Reef

Roger here.... I promise this post will be shorter than the last one.  After our day-long Jeep trip, we decided to rest for a day, maybe even eat at a couple of the local restaurants.  We lazed around during the morning, made a quick trip back to Fruita to buy a gift, then stopped at Slackers in the town of Torrey for lunch.  We were intrigued by the sign that advertised it to be one of the top 10 drive-ins in Utah.  

For my friends in Pendleton, IN, Slackers reminded me of a very upscale Jimmie's Dairy Bar.  The outdoor seating area was pleasant.  It even had a backyard-style playground.  Dianne had a fish sandwich.  I had an Outlaw Burger (in honor of former area resident, Butch Cassidy).  We both had milk shakes.  It was yummy.

After lunch we bought a few groceries at the local general store and spent the afternoon lounging under the tree at our campsite with our dogs.

Suppertime!  There are several dining options in Torrey.  At least one of them is very expensive.  We were more in the mood for a local, family run place.  Thanks to a recommendation from Chuck and Geri (work campers who we met at the Zion River Resort), we opted to dine at the Capitol Reef Inn and Cafe.  Recommendations from friends seldom disappoint.  This was a very comfortable place with excellent food.  Dianne and I both had the rainbow trout that others have recommended.  What a delicious meal.

Earlier in the day, Dianne hinted that she wouldn't mind driving into the park at sunset to stroll a couple of very short trails.  Both trails (the Sunset Trail and the Goosenecks trail) left from the same parking area and were nearby.  So off we went.

Unfortunately, we lingered a little too much over dinner and missed some of the lighting we had hoped for, but the scenery was spectacular, nonetheless.  The leisurely stroll turned out to be a scramble up the trails to get to the viewpoints before sunset was completely over.  The opening photo for this post was taken during our stroll on the Sunset Trail, as were the photos to the right and below.

The Goosenecks trail led us up a short sand and slickrock pathway to the edge of a gorge overlooking the Fremont River.

As you can see, the river winds around like a slithering snake (or a gooseneck), far below our vantage point.

Darkness was falling and we needed to negotiate the trail while we could still see.  Back at the parking area, I noticed that one of our tires looked a little low.  It was 10 psi lower than it should have been.  I had been adding air to this particular tire for a while, about once a week.  I should have checked it before leaving the campground.  I usually do.  So, in the early darkness we made a mad dash back to Torrey.  I remembered a sign at a gas station in town and decided to fill up the tire at the station rather than driving the few extra miles to the campground.  It has been two days now, and the pressure is still where it should be.  Must be a very slow leak.

Yesterday, we packed up the dogs and drove to the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trailhead, a little more than an hour south of here.  It was a beautiful drive back over Boulder Mountain. 
All the loose cattle were still there.  We picked this hike because there is a pool underneath a 128 foot water fall that the dogs could swim in.  It was 79 degrees at the top of the mountain.  By the time we arrived at the trailhead, it was 86 degrees - not too bad, we thought.

We scrambled up some slickrock, and soon we were overlooking the green growth surrounding Calf Creek.  A little further down the path, we hiked through all those plants.

The innocuous-looking walking surface was soon to be a problem, but not yet.

The first of many water stops.

As we trudged through the sand, Bandido was the first of us demanding to turn back.  He trotted to every shady spot, dug in the sand, and laid down.  Tequila soon joined in the protest.  She was holding up her front paws --- first one, then the other, then plopping over in the sand.  We thought she had a thorn, then it dawned on us.  The sand.  The sand was too hot.  It was burning their paws.  Despite the fact that we had walked 2.25 miles of the three-mile (one-way) trek, we turned back.

We took long stops in the shady spots to give the dogs water and get them off their feet.  You can tell that they were miserable.  This was meant to be playtime in the cool water.  We felt so badly.  (Dianne here:  You'll be glad to know that their paws were not burned; we evidently turned back just in time).

We found access to the creek on an offshoot of the main trail.  The dogs spent about fifteen minutes in the water.  It really did help to rejuvenate them for the final stretch back to the shady trailhead.  The water probably felt good on their feet.

One more stop in the shade.

Whew! We made it back to the shady picnic area, had lunch, drank more water, and piled in the air-conditioned car.  (By the way, the car thermometer registered 98 degrees.  The temperature rises quickly here.)

We are heading to Moab in the morning where it is even hotter.  We have some serious thinking to do before embarking on any of the dog-friendly hiking trails in that area.  We may be getting up at the crack of dawn before there is any heat.  I may forgo getting cleaned up until after the hike.  Dianne may delay putting on makeup until after the hike (when hell freezes over).  We may buy some doggie boots in one of the outfitter stores.  We have already found three places that carry them.  We may just stay in the air conditioned motor home :-).  We'll see.

The Pet Picture of the Day shows Bandido getting a well-deserved drink of water.


Diana said...

Calf Creek Falls is a very tough hike to do in the heat - maybe next time.

Happy Trails said...

While in Moab, find Potash Road, just north of town on main highway and across the bridge. Postash Road turns left and will take you by a wonderful rock art panel. Very nice petroglyphs! The road dead ends at a nice boondocking campground at the river! Glad you enjoyed Capitol Reef Cafe!!!