November 23, 2002
David Hansen, Brad Clements and I traveled to the southern end of Capital Reef National Park and hiked Lower Muley Twist. This canyon was given that name by the pioneers because it twists so much that even a mule would be twisted. We left Utah County at 5 a.m. and reached the trailhead at about 9 a.m. The weather was perfect – sunny and in the 30’s and 40’s. David and Brad were skeptical about power hiking, I convinced them to give it a try. David had just moved to Utah from Washington D.C. and was thrilled to see the stunning scenery. It was stunning!
We first hiked up the Water Pocket Fold, and then down into the twisting canyon. It was just as stunning as Paria, but the walls not as high. The colors were fantastic and the alcoves were amazing.
I didn’t run much, wanting to stay with them and help them to have a good experience with long-distance power hiking. We traveled eight miles down the canyon and then I split up from them to go check out the Muley Tanks, which I didn’t find. We had walky-talkies, so we were able to keep in contact. I ended up beating them back to the car by a half hour. Our total distance was about 15 miles. This was my favorite hike so far.
David wrote about this hike:
> I’d like to tell you that we had a lousy time, that the weather
> was bad, and that there was nothing to see, but I’d be a liar.
> Perfect weather, perfect temperature, incredible scenery, and DaveC
> even took it easy on us and let us keep a +/- 4 mi/hr pace that was
> fast but still doable and enjoyable. (Granted, at the end DaveC did
> take off running and ended not only going further down the canyon, but
> he also beat us back to the SUV by about a half hour. However, that
> is mitigated somewhat by the route Brad and I chose to use to return
> to the SUV – for a while we followed Halls Creek which was meandering
> ALL OVER the valley until we finally struck out across on our own.).
> We also saw some fantastic scenery on both the drive down and the
> drive back (the Burr trail (?) route back was incredible – switchbacks
> up an almost sheer face followed by one of the most scenic canyons
> I’ve driven through in years, capped by the drive from Boulder to
> Torrey over the high plateau – beautiful!!!). It helped that Brad
> drove us down and back in his very nice and comfortable SUV.
> Any downsides? Well, 4 hours driving down and 4 hours driving back is
> a lot when they come before and after a 15+ mile jaunt in the desert
> no matter what you’re driving. I’m still not sure tennis shoes are
> the best option even though I did enjoy their light weight – my toes
> were tender the next morning – and it might have been fun to have
> spent a little more time exploring secondary finds along the route.
> Also, I need to continue building my physical conditioning. While I
> didn’t have any specific soreness the following day, I was internally
> pretty tired – for lack of a better explanation – My batteries were
> definitely still undercharged the day after.
> So, would I do it again? You bet! Although I think it will be hard
> to beat the combination of perfect conditions we had for this hike. I
> also think that for treks that are far down south I would now be more
> interested in considering driving down the evening before and spending
> the night in a motel, but that’s still a flexible issue.