Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Capitol Reef–The Fremont River & The Hickman Bridge

Friday August 29, 2014
Capitol Reef National Park
Torrey Utah



I am over at the Gifford House Store at 8:05 and the store is full of people including the guy in the suspenders who is bringing in the pies, muffins and cinnamon buns from his van and his wife who is behind him and out of the picture putting the pies on the shelf.   I am waiting for a peach pie.  She puts those up last of course.   A sign just across from our site says that the Gifford House is 265 feet from there.  I think that’s a bit of an under estimation but I never counted it so who knows.  Suffice it to say that it is close, a bit too close.





Out in the picnic area the mule deer are having their breakfast too and paying no mind to all the folks coming and going.




David has gone off to check out the Cohab and Hickman Bridge Trails.  That’s over a 6 mile circuit and longer than I want to do starting as late as he does so I decline to go along.  Hiking in the heat bothers me much more than it does him.   Instead I go make the pie purchase and then set out on a shorter trail along the Fremont River which is just across from our picnic table.  I can hear the river rippling over the rocks when I sit in my chair outside. 




The Fremont River Trail is 2 miles round trip.  I’m sure I can be back by 10:30 before the heat sets in.  The trail begins right outside my door.  I pass the amphitheater, the other campground loops and another fruit orchard.  They really are everywhere around here.  The trail is described as an easy stroll along the river, then a steep climb to panoramas. 

At the beginning of the hike I am walking right into the sun as it is rising up in the sky.  You know those times when you are driving and the sun just makes it impossible to see since its angle puts it directly into your vision?  It’s like that.   I try to take some pictures of the lovely riverside trail but forget it.  



Soon the sun moves on up, the trail is wonderfully flat and easy, bright blue sky, great day for a hike.







The climb starts at the red rock, gentle at first and pretty soon I’m walking along the edge of the rock far above the river on what could pass for a big horn sheep trail.   Wish I’d brought my hiking pole.  What was I thinking?





Someone has a heart.  At one point there are 5 steps.  Nice place to stop and look around where you don’t have to worry about falling off.  Did you know Big Horn Sheep have suction cups on their pads??

I look around and ahead of me seeing where the path is going.   Can you see the path here?  Pretty sketchy.








I look up , above my head down the trail.  Does that look stable to you? I hurry past.  I wonder when this rock is going to decide to become part of the talus slope?







Once past I can again appreciate these layers of stunning rocks.  Their colors are magnificent, changing with the light.









The path does get wider and I can stop to look across the chasm to the river far below.



I come across the perfect resting chair.   So I do.   Actually it’s more like a love seat.  Too bad David isn’t here.  But it’s a great chance for me to just sit and try to take it all in this landscape bigger than even an imagination.







I really can’t get over the colors of these rocks. 



I round a bend and leave the river behind.   I step out to the edge beyond the juniper tree to get a good look in both directions.Look at that narrow canyon.  I zoom in to see what’s down there. A wash. Sure wouldn’t want to get caught in a flash flood down there.









The trail continues around the far side of this canyon.





I can tell I’ve reached the terminus by all the cairns people have left here.





By this time I’m really up on top, white capped domes in the distance.   I stay for a long time all alone here with fantastic views in every direction.   I sit on the rocks and just breathe.   I lay on a nice slab, close my eyes and just listen.








In a landscape like this, I feel very small and insignificant in comparison with all this beauty, these ancient stones.  I don’t add to the cairns, rather I leave a spiral, a symbol, like the classical labyrinth, which is very special to me.  Maybe someday I’ll return to see if it remains.








The heat is becoming more intense, it’s time for me to leave this spiritual place. I have been blessed to spend over an hour here all alone.  I have no idea what this time is preparing me for.  But it has been wonderful.



It’s hard to think that these canyons were once under the sea.  When I see rocks with what look like water marks it is always amazing.





I return more slowly paying attention not only to the magnificent views but to the beauty beside me and at my feet.







I round the bend again and catch up with the river.   







I look up as I carefully make my way back along the narrow sheep path. 















It’s hard to believe I am walking on a bit of a talus slope.  Even the damaged is beautiful.








Thankfully, the hike’s return  has been mostly in shadow.  I reach the bottom. I’m back down at the level of the river.












Horses are grazing now in what was an empty pasture on my up.   I stop to see them.  Usually horses will come over to the fence to see if you have anything like an apple or a carrot.  Not these they are busy eating away.











What a splendid hike this has been!









It’s almost noon.  I’ve been gone much longer than I intended.  I recognize my backdrop, I’m almost home.   I see the campground through the trees.







And here I am right at my cottonwood tree by the river. Or at least mine for the days I am here.  The Gifford House is in the distance. Winnona is just to the right .



By the time I arrive back it is H-O-T!  David is back and  tells me about his day which included the Cohab trail, the Hickman bridge, another peach orchard (are we surprised) and a stop at Petroglyphs left by the Fremont Ancestral People.  All of which I want to do on another day EARLY or an evening LATE.   But here is a preview with some of his pictures.  


Gorgeous rocks on the Cohab Trail.





He wonders which part of stay on the trail and off of the delicate desert soil she doesn’t understand.



The beautiful Hickman Bridge against a gorgeous Utah sky.














After a dinner of spaghetti, we set out to find an internet connection so we can check email, pay some bills, post the blog and see what response David’s doctor has had to his latest test scores.

Internet is a difficult task in this area.  The closest town is Torrey, 12 miles away.  We get no internet signal here.  Nothing we can boost.  The town consists of a couple of RV parks, a couple of motels, a couple of bars and a general store/motel.   David asks in the general store.  No advice.


As we drive on out of town toward the next town another 10 miles away we pass what looks like a little gnome house but turns out to be a cute bookstore.  I’m always into independent bookshops and am very surprised to find one here on the outskirts of town.  We stop.

It’s really the most interesting thing in the town IMO. It’s called Robbers Roost which of course was the name of the “hideout” that Butch Cassidy had somewhere in these parts.

The shop is a light filled room with a wonderful selection of books including every southwestern writer I can think of including Edward Abbey, TT Williams, Wallace Stegner.  There are gifts, t-shirts, a little coffee shop, a table, chairs, a sofa and just a warm cozy atmosphere. This is really my kind of place and I know I would probably love the proprietor and her patrons. If I lived around here, I’d hang out here a lot.

They seem to sponsor all sorts of events on their “lawn”. Signs for events including a Western Woman’s Music Festival that we just missed are posted inside. Tonight someone is setting up a BBQ outside.







We do eventually locate internet we can boost and take care of our business. Nearly 40 miles round trip is a long way to go for internet so it’s doubtful we will do it again. I just get behinder and behinder on this blog.


  1. You found my favorite little bookstore. It is why we stay in Torrey. And if you want to eat, The Capitol Reef Inn and Cafe has organic and delicious food and an interior not to be missed.

  2. Please oh please don't miss the Grand Wash. And Sherry, really! you can to do the Burr Trail to the switchbacks in your car no four wheel drive or high clearance needed! Do NOT miss the view from Boulder Mountain. It is an incredible drive. Really. Just to the top of the switchbacks is worth it and you could hike up to the Strike Overlook. OF course, you won't see this comment till you are probably somewhere else. sigh. I guess I am wishing I was there.

  3. I concur you would have no issues with the Burr Trail. But, inquiring minds want to know, how did you like the peach pie?? We thought it was excellent back in May and that was without the fresh picked peaches! We stayed in Torrey and had ZILCH Verizon but DID have our ATT phone so I was able to tether for the week. Opposite problem here in Moran for the summer...ATT lousy, and has been a major pain with my mom having medical issues .

  4. I never tire of seeing the amazing colors in the rock formations out West.

    Don't worry about getting behind in your blog, you need to slow down and smell the rock formations... ;c)

  5. Well now I really want to go to Capital Reef. But would really like to spend more time than a 3 1/2 day weekend with a 6 hour drive. Glad you both got out on your hikes. And yes, want to know how was the peach pie.

  6. Lovely blog about a lovely hike. Actually nice you and Pops got to have two experiences. Nice pictures of you I guess you took with the camera. That love seat with Pops would have been a good selfie shot. Like your spiral and the cute bookstore. What a fabulous. place! So many colors & time shaped beauty.

  7. Great post Serry.... what do the carins mean ( that I see in a lot of blog post )that people make?

  8. What a gorgeous terrain! I have to see this national park for myself someday.

  9. Clearly it was a journey meant to be taken alone, as you stayed out in the heat longer than David after all. It is a truly blessed individual who knows they are truly blessed...... "landscape bigger than imagination", "what this time is preparing me for". Soaking up the sounds and the energy around you - I don't know how you survived indoors for so long.
    I really enjoy the three perspectives you do for some of the shots. Zoomed pics are wonderful for the detail, but give a distorted visual of what you are actually witnessing on the trail - so I appreciate that you include both :-) Glad you made it safely across all that loose rock without your trekking pole - it looked daunting without those helpful suctions cups like the sheep have :-)))
    David's hike was amazing as well! Love the many colors and formations he captured. So much wonderfulness to see from that campsite. You've had many days of adventures since then, but this was such a lovely day. Go back and read it again yourself :-)

  10. As much as I love hiking with friends, solo hikes are even better. As you said, I see more, hear more, listen more and learn more. I always enjoy finding a hiking friend who understands the joy of hiking together, but also appreciates some time far apart. For safety reasons, guess that's the best of both worlds!!

  11. Gorgeous and fabulous shots of rock formations and colors. I know for sure we won't miss this park! Sometimes I like to hike alone for like you I tend to look around and take picture a lot, but for my own safety I avoid doing just that.

  12. Oh, I just love the colors in the rocks!!! Isn't this just the neatest park and so uncrowded. We didn't get to Hickman Bridge because of a dangerous rock slide that closed it. Can't wait to get back this spring and see it.

  13. I tend to try to believe the best about people - perhaps the hiker off trail was from a foreign country and couldn't read the sign? I know when we were at Arches there were more foreign languages being spoken than English! When I was up early for sunrise photos I had to shout to some Japanese tourists that they weren't supposed to be on the cryptobiotic soil but they most likely didn't understand me because they remained where they were. Or she was ignoring the sign. I do respect those signs in that area, that soil takes forever to get to the point where it will support plants and it can be destroyed in a second.

  14. That was an amazing hike in such a beautiful place. I never get tired of seeing the huge and beautiful rocks. So many amazing colors, sizes and shapes!!! We got two hikes in one blog post;o)) You're never behind as it is YOUR blog, so it runs on Your schedule:o)))

  15. By your pictures you picked the best hike - fabulous pictures and wonderfully described hike. Sorry to have missed the love seat with you! :(

  16. Glad to know I wasn't the only reader wondering about the peach pie. I had no idea there were orchards in that part of Utah.

    Both hikes looked amazing. You captured the beauty of both the sedimentary rock vistas and the details of the landscape so well in your photos. I especially like the photo of the rock with what looks like water marks. I also love that you left a spiral of rocks as a signature of your visit to this beautiful place.

    The bookstore was another special find. How fun it would be to hang out there and read an Edward Abbey essay. Hope the weather cools a bit so you can do all the hikes on your list. Enjoy!

  17. Playing catch up and reading your posts on the big screen...it's like living color and so much better! Nice stop...such a beautiful place!

  18. Great photos, internet hard to find in that area.

  19. You timed that visit perfectly for the peaches but it is still a bit warm during the day. Beautiful country!


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