I know, orchard in a desert? Yep! As it turns out, there is a river that runs through, and along the river, Mormon pioneers had set up homesteading in what was eventually called Fruita, Utah. According to the movie at the visitor's center, life in Fruita was "simple, but rewarding," with Mormon pioneers planting orchards and making out a living. However, the movie also referenced that there were never more than 10 families living in Fruita at one time, and the homesteads are now all abandoned, so I'm not exactly sure how "rewarding" this all was...
|Our first hike, Grand Arch|
|Eric on arch during second hike|
Remember I just said that.
We hiked and enjoyed the day, and it didn't rain on us. We headed back to camp, made dinner, watched the stars come out (the Milky Way was super awesome), and spent a peaceful night sleeping while the blood rushed to our head given the downward-dog-angle of the pop-up.
|Road to the Canyon|
To get to the canyon, we had to take a 4-wheel drive road that went up a series of switch-backs, then cut over to the canyon, which required high-clearance. Fortunately, we had the truck... although I did have to get out of it once to guide Eric around some massive rocks without bottoming out of putting scratches on that thing we would have had to pay for. Maybe this should have been my first clue, but I'm not a follow-the-clues kind of woman, I guess.
We got to the trailhead, where Eric realized what we apparently had not talked about... the trail was 9 miles long. Well, I knew it was 9 miles long? I like long trails. But, he was willing to go along with me.
So, we started out. We walked a couple of miles down a wash before we found the turnoff for the climb up to the top of the canyon. It was a little steep, but not too bad. We got to the top and it was GORGEOUS! What a great view, all the way down the waterpocket fold. We hiked a couple miles down... and then we realized, we had to do some more climbing, because the trail went up along an ever narrowing ridge. Ok, we can do this.
Within a half mile, we realized that we had bit of as much as we could chew.
|Go down as far as you can see on that ridge. We hiked every|
foot of it.
There have been few times in my life where, when completing an activity, I thought to myself, "This is stupid."
This was one of those times.
Straddling that ridge, I looked down. I knew we were too far in to go back, but going on felt perilous. Eric was behind me, and I felt like I had to lead us to safety.
|Eric, thinking we were |
But down I went. Looking back, I looked at my top heavy husband, weaving down the cliff-face, and I was more than certain he was going to plummet down the 1500 foot or so precipice. I had to turn away, because I couldn't watch.
He didn't, and I'm a bad wife.
This was repeated a number of times over the next several miles. When we finally made it to the end of the ridge and headed down,
It didn't get better.
Once we got to the bottom, we actually got to see the end of Muley Twist Canyon. It was approximately 8 inches wide, and while I really wanted to explore it, I was also pretty sure that I was going to get a foot or an arm stuck and there was NO WAY I had lived through the ridge-o-death in order to die stuck in a rock.
So we took the "Canyon bypass," which other hikers had recommended that we ran in to.
|Look! The twisty |
canyon, finally. The best entrance
was on the near side of the wash, not
the far side that we saw after
After traversing the third level of hell, we finally explored the other end of Muley Twist Canyon.
When we were back down to the wash again, I turned and looked at Eric. "So, want to a go to a bowl game for our anniversary?"
Eric looked at me and went, "Trying to make up for that hike, huh?"
And twelve miles (not the 9 as advertised) and several near death experiences later, the answer was:
PS: It turns out, a backcountry permit was required for this hike. It might have been nice for the park ranger to mention this, and/or issue me one when I asked about the hike. Of course, since he was in a body cast, maybe he wasn't the best person to ask for directions and/or advice.
PPS: Eric already has a hotel room booked near the Rose Bowl, just in case Michigan makes it.