Our second week in Maple Canyon has come and gone. Luckily, the weather warmed up and the camping has become much more comfortable. Our first few nights were bitterly cold and we started seriously discussing an option to withdraw to a warmer climate. It's nice now - let's hope it lasts. We've met a nice crew of climbers from Salt Lake City and have enjoyed evenings around the campfire sharing stories. One couple will be in Turkey during our stay and we hope to spend some some time with them abroad.
Grandpa Bourdon drove down from Trail for a few days of camping. We all piled into the van and took a day trip to Capitol Reef national park in southern Utah. It's a spectacular landscape of desert walls and amazing rock formations. It was a hot day, but we managed to see some great sights. We started with a one-mile hike to a sandstone arch and enjoyed lounging in the shade and taking in the scenery once we arrived.
Landscape on the approach to the arch:
The arch on the left. It reminded us of some of the large spans we'd seen in Arches national park the year before.
Grandpa and Elise posing under the arch.
Grandpa, Elise and Daddy posing under the arch. It was a gorgeous day!
Grandpa Bourdon and Elise enjoying the shade
These are a few photos I took of Elise underneath the arch. She very much enjoyed herself and scrambled on the rocks and cliff bases until we left.
The Bourdon family under the arch.
After a very hot return hike, we enjoyed wading in the cool waters of the river. Elise thoroughly enjoyed the silty mud and wanted to fling some at me. I said, "no way!"
After the arch, we hiked a boardwalk along a large cliff base to look at a number of well-preserved petroglyphs. There were all kinds of animals and human figures, which Elise questioned us about.
We finished with a hike in a narrow slot canyon called Capitol Wash. The canyon walls were very high and the trail snaked through the cliffs. Eventually, we finished at a series of "tanks" or water-work holes in the sandstone that held seasonal water. It was a hot hike, but the views and rock formations were spectacular. It was a far cry from the farm land surrounding Maple Canyon. It was a great day!
Grandpa had to leave a couple of days later, but Elise's disappointment was quickly forgotten when we returned to the reservoir one evening and caught a rainbow trout! This time, we fished until the sun was setting and they started feeding vigorously. A couple of young boys nearby caught a fish, which got Elise really worked up, and then we landed this lunker! She really wanted to eat it. (Yes, eat it.) I thought it might be a good lesson in connecting us to our food source, but alas we were ill equipped (once again) to clean the poor thing so we opted to put it back. If we fish again, we will likely bring the trout home, fry it up and eat it. Elise has promised me she will eat it if we do. Stay tuned....
We did a scenic Sunday drive over the pass beside Mt Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch range. The fall colours were truly gorgeous and we enjoyed a short hike through an aspen grove.
Elise and I at once of the scenic pullouts.
During our hike, Elise clutched a small aspen tree. I called her a "tree hugger" and she immediately asked for a photo of her hugging the sapling. I had to oblige.
Our climbing is improving after a long summer of injury rehabilitation. The steep rock in the canyon is tough, but is slowly getting us back into shape for our trip to Turkey. Last year, I carried Elise to the Pipe Dream cave each day, about a half hour uphill hike. This year, she's hiking on her own (much to my great pleasure) and it's been a real treat to see her progress toward greater independence. Here she is, tackling the trail on a warm morning.
Her treat for doing the hike on her own (without whining) - a Tinkerbell Pez dispenser.
Here's a few shots of a climber named Mindi from Salt Lake. We've climbed with Mindi and her partner Gordon on two separate weekends and enjoyed interesting US versus Canada discussions and sharing climbing information. Mindi is strong - this is a tough route (Toxic Turkey, 13c)!
We hope the weather holds. See you all in a week or so!