Tuesday, October 5, 2010


We fell asleep to the soft pitter-patter of raindrops last night, and awoke to low clouds and wet roads.  Today’s weather included drizzle, heavy rain, flash flood warnings, lightening and thunder – and a couple periods when the rain stopped, but never long enough for a hike.  :(

Since we were indoors so much of the day, I found time to type up the recipe for German Potato Salad cooked in the crockpot, and I’ve added it to the “Recommended Recipes” archive on the left side of the blog (scroll down).  Let me know if the link is not working; it looks like Google has changed a few things since the last time I created and published a document.

Yesterday’s weather was a mix of sun and storm, and we managed most of a fun hike before the storm broke.  Here is the photographic story of the Cohab Canyon Trail.  It starts in Capitol Reef National Park just across from the Fruita Campground.

Beginning of the Cohab Canyon Hike
From the trailhead opposite the campground, you hike up a steep hillside to a cleft in the high rock wall, into a high canyon, then either north to the overlook, south to the Frying Pan trail, or continue on until the trail ends on Highway 24.  We hiked to the Overlook and back.
Starting up the switchbacks.

We gained altitude quickly as the tight switchbacks climbed the slope below the high rock cliff.  The canyon walls across from us in this photo look much like the slope we were hiking.
Looking down on the Cohab Canyon trail switchbacks.  

This view shows Fruita campground (in the trees) from near the top of the switchbacks.  The old barn is now far below.

Odel is standing at the bottom of the face of the rock cliff.  Our trail skirted the bottom of the cliff, high up on the canyon wall.  Rock wall on one side, steep drop off on the other… and it looked as though the cliff face could not be penetrated. 

Then, suddenly, an opening in the cliff face, and we made a 90 degree turn into a high canyon.
Odel on the narrow cliff trail.

I posed, hands above my head, to provide scale for the canyon walls.  We were several hundred feet above the campground, and safely away from the cliff-edge trail.
Laurie posing in the upper canyon.
Intriguing shapes!

Our high canyon opened up after about a 1/4 mile.  The rock formations were fantastical, the colors striking and varied.  Dark clouds were sweeping across the sky, moving fast.
Scattered boulders

Our trail wound its way around boulders and rocks of all sizes and shapes scattered across the slick rock floor of the high canyon .
Looking down on Highway 24 and the Fremont River

We found our trail junction, turned north, and hiked another 1/4 mile or so to the canyon overlook.  Here, we must have been a thousand feet above the floor of Capitol Reef National Park. 
The domes of Capitol Reef National Park, on the other side of Highway 24.

After I took this photo from the overlook, looking directly across Highway 24 to the domes,  lightening struck to the west and the clouds thickened.  The wind picked up, so we hurried back, arriving at the opening in the cliff face just as the storm struck.

With our raincoats on, we huddled in the shelter of a huge boulder until the first wave of rain passed, then made a hasty descent to the valley floor.  Whew!


  1. simply BEAUTIFUL!

    I began my day with a show on TV about National Parks, including this one, and now I'm finishing it up with your photographs... we're truly blessed with a beautiful country, right!?

  2. The dark clouds make the colors of the rocks so much more vibrant. I especially like the photo that is fourth from the bottom.

  3. What a great hike, and wonderful pictures. Glad you got down the trail safely! :)

  4. Another hidden treasure of our National Parks. But who knew? Oh, of course you folks seem to always be one step ahead, but then you've been doing this since 2003. Keep up the good posts.

  5. Capitol Reef National Park, eh?? Note to self...Make sure to visit!! Sensational pictures!!

  6. What a beautiful park and the hike looked like a lot of fun. Glad you made it safely back before th storm.

  7. Beautiful hike! I did the whole thing once in my younger days. Are you going to go to the Cathedral Valley section of the park?

  8. Diana, we were toying with the idea of Cathedral Valley, but it is a dirt/gravel road with one stream to be forded. Rain moved in 36 hours ago, there are waterfalls coming off the cliffs, Fremont River is a racing madhouse of red water, the washes are full and Scenic Drive is closed. No chance of driving CV! We leave tomorrow, so that will be on our list for "next time".