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A Pleasant Morning in Capitol Reef

Pleasant Creek | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Friday & Saturday, October 4-5, 2019

After finishing up our hike through the Little Death Hollow Loop late in the morning we headed back to Boulder for lunch so we could figure out what we were going to do for the rest of the day and on Saturday. Originally, I had planned for one more overnight backpacking trip off of the Wolverine Loop Road, but we both decided that we wanted to head back home on Saturday afternoon so we would have Sunday to relax before going back to work on Monday, so we needed to find a day hike for Saturday morning instead. After discussing our options we figured that something in Capitol Reef National Park would be good since it wasn’t too far away and was on our way home anyways, so we set our sights on Pleasant Creek. We have both hiked parts of Pleasant Creek in the past, but had missed some things that we wanted to check out this time. Since we still had the rest of the afternoon and evening free we headed up to Capitol Reef and visited a couple rock art sites before finding a campsite just outside of Torrey for the night.

An afternoon view of Pectols Pyramid in Capitol Reef National Park.

Pectols Pyramid

Large sheep petroglyphs inside a pretty big alcove with an unusual mud splotch.

Sheep Spot

I visited this nice petroglyph panel back in February, but Jared had not seen it before.

Big Panel

Red pictographs on the ceiling of a large alcove.

Overhang Pictographs

Jared spotted these nice Fremont petroglyphs on a previous visit, and I had not seen them before.

Fremont Petroglyphs

Red Fremont Outlines

Red Fremont Outlines

It looks like this anthropomorphic petroglyph might have four feet?

Four Feet

After leaving the park and stopping for dinner in Torrey, we drove up the Great Western Trail and found a place to camp for the night. It was very windy out again this evening so we waited until after sunset to set up our tents, hoping that the wind would die down. This time it didn’t! I guess we would be ending our trip the same way that we started it, by setting up camp and sleeping in very windy conditions! I was thankful again for my earplugs this night.

Watching the sunset while we were waiting to set up camp.

Evening View Near Camp

The ADVENTR Jeep at sunset.

ADVENTR Jeep Sunset

On Saturday morning we woke up shortly after sunrise and were a little slow to get out of our sleeping bags this morning because it was very cold out and the wind was still blowing hard! It was definitely the coldest morning of the entire trip and my hands were freezing as I was taking down my tent. Once we got everything back into my Jeep we warmed up inside as I drove back over to Capitol Reef and took the Scenic Drive to the Pleasant Creek Trailhead. It was still cold out when we started hiking down the canyon, but the sun helped to warm things up quickly.

Jared hikes ahead of me on this cold morning.

Cold Morning Hike

Some of the cottonwood trees in the canyon were starting to display their fall colors.

Fall Color

Fall Along Pleasant Creek

Fall Along Pleasant Creek

A couple historic inscriptions from 1916 near the main panel of petroglyphs.

Hanks 1916

This petroglyph panel with a bunch of different sheep was hard to see in the direct sunlight.

Hard-To-See Sheep

Hiking along a bend of Pleasant Creek in the shade.

Pleasant Creek Bend

This lone tree against the canyon wall caught my attention.

Lone Tree

Fremont petroglyphs that Jared had spotted on his previous hike into the canyon.

Fremont Faces

Following the creek downstream.

Following The Creek

Soon we reached the entrance to the Pleasant Creek Slot Canyon which we had wanted to explore this morning.

Slot Entrance

The wash bottom in the slot canyon was very soft sand and really wasn’t that fun to walk through.

Further In

The colorful sandstone walls were looking good, though!

Sandy Narrows

After hiking through the narrows for a little bit the canyon did slot up nicely.

Pleasant Creek Slot Canyon

Slot View

Jared climbing over the only real obstacle that we encountered in the slot canyon.

Over & Under

A view of the entrance into the last section of slot canyon that we would hike through before getting stopped by a dryfall.

Entering the Last Slot

This was as far as we went up the slot canyon since we didn’t want to climb up this dryfall. Can you spot Jared?

The End

Jared hikes through the slot canyon ahead of my on our way back out.

Jared In the Slot

Dark Passage

Dark Passage

After exiting the slot canyon we decided to head back to the trailhead and call it a trip, but we did stop to revisit this fading pictograph panel first.

Disappearing Pictographs

Hiking along Pleasant Creek on our way back.

Sandstone & Water

After returning to my Jeep at the trailhead we drove back to Jared’s car in Fruita and he transferred his gear out of my Jeep. We said our goodbyes and headed home our separate directions. Of course, I stopped at Ray’s Tavern in Green River for a burger to end the trip properly! I definitely had an amazing week exploring the Canyons of the Escalante and can’t wait to return again!

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One Comment

  1. Tim Cooney
    Tim Cooney October 28, 2019

    We hiked the Pleasant Creek downstream just last Saturday. Never saw this slot section. Can’t locate anything on Google Earth that seems to resemble a slot side canyon on Pleasant Creek so where is that slot section? Could you send us coordinates from GE?
    Tim Cooney

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