Day 50 – Capitol Reef
Sunday was another day of serious hiking in Capitol Reef National Park, possibly the toughest hike we’ve done together so far. We took on the Navajo Knobs trail, almost 9 miles long and well over 2000 feet of elevation gain. The first part of the trail leads up to an excellent overlook of the Fruita area and the Waterpocket Fold. Then it continues to climb to a 360-degree panorama from the very top of the Navajo Knobs, where the view seemed to go on forever. So did the hike down, unfortunately, since it included a climb back up to the overlook after coming down from the Knobs, but we made it. We headed back to Torrey immediately for a well-deserved pizza lunch, and then checked into the Broken Spur Inn for an evening of rest.
Day 51 – Torrey
After two days in the park, including 18 miles of hiking and 4000+ feet of climbing, we decided Monday would be a lazy work day in the hotel. We may have only left the room once all day (for our free breakfast).
Day 52 – Torrey to Bryce Canyon
Tuesday we headed down Scenic Byway 12, the gorgeous route between Capitol Reef and Bryce National Parks. You first cross over Boulder Mountain, with excellent overlooks to the south and east, including the Henry Mountains and the Waterpocket Fold. Then it heads through Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. We stopped in Cannonville for the night, where we met another friendly couple with a Westy. We also met a tiny kitten (who we nicknamed Fuzzbutt), who followed us around all night and even jumped into the van at one point. We probably were a little too friendly, so it was hard to finally kick him/her out for the night. But luckily, just after setting Fuzzbutt outside, two siblings came running over to play, so we knew the little one would be OK.
Day 53 – Bryce Canyon
We got up early Wednesday morning to tackle Bryce Canyon, one of the most uniquely beautiful places we’ve ever seen. We got there early so we could see Inspiration Point without the crowds, and it did not disappoint. Then we chose to do the Fairyland Loop trail, an awesome hike that starts along the rim almost up to Sunrise Point (which we continued on to before doubling back to the Fairy Loop), then heads down into Campbell and Fairy canyons, where you can hike amongst the many hoodoos. It was another tough hike at 8.7 miles and 1668 feet of elevation gain.
Day 54 – Bryce Canyon to Richfield
Thursday was a work/travel day, where we finished driving the Scenic Byway 12 through the Red Canyon, then up highway 89 to Richfield to spend the night.
Day 55 – Richfield
Another day to work and rest, but we had a little date night and walked to the theater downtown to see Wonder Woman.
Day 56 – Richfield to Wendover
Saturday we planned one of our longest drives in a while, over 4 hours to Wendover, NV. Before we got started, we actually went for our first run on the entire trip, a quick 3-miles up near the base of the Red Hills adjacent to Richfield. The goal of the drive was the Bonneville Salt Flats. It was very different from the terrain we’d be accustomed to in Utah, but another very unique and beautiful landscape. We stopped for a short hike out onto the salt flats, and then drove to the entrance to the Bonneville Speedway so we could race the Westy (not really). We continued on to Wendover for groceries and a night of rest before beginning our journey east in the morning.