We arrived in Capitol Reef National Park in the late afternoon and wanted to get in a hike before the sun went down. So we decided to do the short hike (total 2.6 miles) out to “The Tanks.” I do not seem to understand this park – it was not a giant reef, a batch of coral washed up in the middle of the dessert. Not at all. And The Tanks were not two large military vehicles left behind in the whole reef disaster.
No Capitol Reef is just more pretty rock of various colours highlighted by all these beautiful (cottonwood?) yellowing trees, and the Tanks were a few pools of water etched into the sandstone – albeit nice water. I was a bit distracted though as we kept seeing signs warning us about flash floods – in fact we parked in an area that specifically cautioned us of this natural disaster. So I started to panic as the clouds turned dark and I was sure a storm was going to roll in. My mom kept her cool and politely ignored me as I protested again and again that maybe we should turn back. After spending way too long at the Tanks for my liking (5 min?) and gazing at the ‘graffiti’ on the canyon walls, we finally got back to the car – and not even one drop of rain fell. I might have been over-reacting. The graffiti was actually pretty cool – the words on the wall dated back to the late 1800s when this passageway was used as the sole route through Fremont River Canyon (until 1962?! really?). Some of the names were carved into the rock in traditionally old English cursive, and others were literally shot into the wall with bullets!
The next morning we embarked on a longer hike out to Cassidy Arch (8.6 mi) via Cohab Canyon. It was hot and the not terribly intense elevation change felt too strenuous for my liking. The hike begins with a stroll through Cohab Canyon – the name comes from co-habitation, a throw back to the canyons days being the hideout for polygamist families. The Arch rather snuck up on us. I kept expecting this grand arch to appear in the distance, but it never did, and this is because it was below us the whole time! Sneaky Arch. It was pretty cool though, sitting on top of the arch, dangling my feet into the abyss.
Both of these hikes were pretty cool. There were many, many more hikes we did not have time to check out here – so perhaps more than 24 hours is needed! We also unfortunately came at the tail-end of the fruit-picking season in Fruita and probably got the absolute last apple from the tree – so try to go earlier than the end of October if you want some fruit!