Over the Waterpocket Fold into Stevens Canyon

A starry morning, awake before dawn, but lying in my bag. I watch an owl hop about in the cottonwood above us, then silently drop to the ground. Sorry little mouse or lizard.

Then our day began.

And what a gorgeous day! Hard to believe we started out along Halls Creek with sandy walking, thickets of tamarisk, and lots of cattle sign. Hiked up and over the Waterpocket Fold via the Baker Trail. Scampering about benches of Navajo sandstone that changed color, held waterpockets, and gardens of cactus, grasses, wildflowers, and mini groves of pinyon and juniper. A wonderland ideal for camping out.

From the top of the Fold we looked east to the Henry Mountains and our route across Tarantula Mesa to Capitol Reef NP. We also saw the Colorado River a la Lake Powell (or is that Lake Foul?) glimmering with boats. Then we dropped into the world of Stevens Canyon with its domes of Navajo sherbet, huge alcoves, giant benches of red Kayenta formation, and overhang walls dropping to narrows. We camped on a slickrock bench of Kayenta above a pour off. Listening to canyon tree frogs make goat calls and watch bats flit about.

Day 20: 13.5 miles; 305.9 miles total. Halls Creek below Millers Creek to Stevens Canyon bench.

GPS: used twice; people sighted: three canyon explorers, including one who gave us dried bananas, figs, and jerky made from his neighbor’s pet bison; roads: none!

Morning glow on the Waterpocket Fold. 

Gabriel studies the maps.

First prickly pear flower seen on route.

Cool new flower! Spiderwort.

Rosy slickrock.

Bubbly white slickrock.

Mukmuk and one of the many cairns marking the Baker Trail.

Fun steeps.

Looking east toward the Henry Mountains.

First glimpse of Stevens Canyon.

A charming turtle dome of Navajo Sandstone.

A swirly orange and cream muffin.

Nice drop into Stevens Canyon.

Kayenta benches above the narrows.

Big, beautiful slickrock benches.

Navajo bells catching light.

Some steep trail that requires very focused walking.

View from camp.

Home for the night.

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