Spent the night camping at Mesa Verde National Park and then started the day on a self-guided tour of the Far View Tower.
Then we paid for a guided tour of Balcony House (below). It was a very exposed hike to get there and I was surprised at all the fat, out-of-shape people that were on it. I was thinking the whole time that it would suck to be a ranger doing the tours, as you’d be fearful all the time of someone slipping and falling to their death.
Here is the Cliff Palace, another paid tour. This place was so beautiful . . . I wound’t mind living there myself!
So we had to leave since we could only get a campsite for one night. So we packed up in the evening and mushed on towards a campsite I found in my Don Wright’s Guide to Free Campgrounds, western edition, for the night. We had to travel about 60 miles south to a $5 BLM campsite, no running water, of course.
So our pal Kelton Russenberger took us to Capitol Reef National Park for some hiking and camping on his day off from Bryce Canyon National Park. This was one of the many beautiful view while driving into the park on the gravel road towards Cedar Mesa.
Hitting a trail.
So this hidden treasure that many overlook for the sexier nearby parks (like Zion, Bryce, etc.) is pretty neat. Being a geology and geography nerd, I was simply astonished to be in a waterpocket fold, which is a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth), that extends almost 100 miles in the park!
The sun warms up the Valley at dawn. Folks brought rope (and we took our vertical gear) to rig the spot where we would have rappelled. But I couldn’t bring myself to go down to the Diving Board to see the view that could have been. It would have broken my heart.
So instead we decided to leave Yosemite. But first thing first, get off the huge rock called El Cap.
We arrived in Yosemite National Park today. Looking up at El Capitan from the Valley floor made me sad we were not able to rappel and climb her.
Took a paved trail to see Vernal Falls.
The trail was a shit show. This really fat man, who looked to be in his late 20s, was with his fat wife and two fat small children. They were hiking up the same trail as us. They had one empty water bottle for the four of them on the hot June afternoon. They all looked like they were going to stroke out at any moment. He approached us and said “You two look like you know what you’re doing in the outdoors.”
“Can I drink this water?” as he pointed to the river we were hiking by. Chris said “Sure, if you want to get diarrhea.”
He scrunched up his face and turned on his heal quickly towards his waiting family.
We checked for an open campsite for the night at Arches . . . they didn’t have one. So we found this outside the park along the Colorado River. Yeah, there were a lot of mosquitos.
But we were camped right next to some awesome petroglyphs!
Arches National Park, Day II
Chris and I spent the entire day hiking the rest of the trails in the park to see all the obscure arches in Arches National Park. Above is me standing in an unnamed arch we found while hiking to Sand Dune Arch.
Unfortunately this morning, after we broke down camp in Colorado and drove down the mountain back into cell service, we got a bad call. Our rappelling and climbing El Capitan Expedition had been cancelled by the park service. Too many details of what went wrong. So . . . . as the only ones driving across county for it, we find out about it half way into our drive. We decided to stop by Arches for a couple of days.
Below is Balanced Rock.
This is the famous Delicate Arch near sunset and an almost full moon!