Just like 2016, the early months of 2017 included a back-to-back trip to Capitol Reef. It’s the perfect park to visit for quick camping trips because it’s so close to Provo.
The first 2017 Capitol Reef trip happened the second weekend in March. A couple of my friends joined me and Peter for the trip and we all met up with my brother. That was the first time he had been to Capitol Reef, so it was nice to share with him Peter’s favorite Utah park. Since then it’s become my brother’s favorite as well.
We arrived Friday night, having left after I was done with work at 5, and got to enjoy a lovely evening in the quiet Fruita Campground. The campground is always first-come, first served, but early enough in the season (meaning when most people think it’s too cold to camp) you can roll in and find a spot pretty easily. We were about as close to the river as you could get and I was reminded once again how great that white noise is.
The highlight of Friday night was seeing a ringtail in the tree right next to our site! Check out these adorable little “desert lemurs!” (Desert lemur is not an official nickname, but we felt it was pretty apt.)
It was crazy to shine a flashlight up into the tree after hearing some rustling and then seeing a ringtail. When we were at the visitor center the next morning, we asked a ranger to find out what it actually was. It will still always be a desert lemur to us.
Our main hike for the day was the Rim Overlook, which is a great spot along the Navajo Knobs trail. You even get a great view of Hickman Bridge from above. It’s not super strenuous and you still get a great reward (meaning view) out of it.
The next time at Capitol Reef was two weeks later, and this trip had a very distinct purpose: the first rappelling trip of the year. We had planned with some friends to do Cassidy Arch. That had been Peter’s very first canyoneering experience, though I’m very glad it wasn’t mine. It probably would have been too intimidating back in 2016. But this year I was going to do a kind of wild thing.
Here’s the thing about Cassidy Arch: Recently all the rappels were bolted. Before there were some natural anchors. That’s all well and good, but it meant the first couple rappels got even longer. Once about 120 feet, the first rappel is now 150 feet. That’s a really long way down! That’s a lot of friction to deal with! And when you’re not that tall and don’t weigh that much, it’s hard to get going!
All in all things went perfectly fine. I’m real good at keeping my nerves bottled up inside. Can’t let any of that out or else you risk crying, which ultimately rusts your robot parts.
The first two rappels are indeed very high and quite intimidating. After that it’s smooth sailing. We had an excellent time and I look forward to doing Cassidy Arch again some day. The rest of the afternoon we stopped at some overlooks and enjoyed the ridiculous cloud coverage.
I will never stop taking candid photos of Peter looking majestic AF.