Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sheets Gulch, Capitol Reef NP

I drove to St George, Utah to retrieve the Scamp trailer from winter storage, and headed for Capitol Reef. The weather in Jackson is cold and wet, so I've been hoping for some warm weather time in the desert. Capitol Reef National Park is first on my list, I found a campsite at the Cedar Mesa primitive campground on the east side of the park.

Hmm, Sheets Gulch might be my new favorite of the washes and gulches on the east side of Capitol Reef. The first 1.5 miles is open wash, then it narrows down nicely. One obstacle at 2.5 miles, easy bridging to climb. The chockstone obstacle at 3.5 miles I could not climb, shoes too muddy and walls too sandy to get good traction for a bridge. 5 hour round trip including side trips ¼ mile up side canyon on left at 1.3 miles, and at 2.0 hours climb north side of canyon to get better view of the jug-handle arch.

Interesting small world -- there was only one other vehicle at the trailhead. About an hour from the road, I caught up with one of the other hikers. He was from Hobart Indiana, where I grew up. A few years older than me, retired from US Steel, and was wearing a USS t-shirt. We didn't know each other. He said the other two in his group were further up-canyon, one was from Merrillville. When I caught up to them, the guy from Merrillville graduated in the same class with my younger brothers, and recalled them immediately! Small world indeed, here we are over an hour from the road and two hours from the nearest post office...

Another good thing that I met up with them, they pointed out an arch that I didn't know about.  It is a jug-handle arch, but it also looks like there might be another window or arch in a fin further up canyon; I can't get a good angle to see through, just looks like sunlight passing through.  So, thanks a bunch to Tom G (Merrillville HS 1978) and Dan M (Hobart HS 1964)!

GPS details at

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