December 7, 2002
I had a fun 23-mile adventure Saturday morning. It wasn’t supposed to be that long. I did a solo return trip to Muley Twist, with the intent to hike it in the opposite direction. I hit the trail at 7 a.m., weather perfect again, warm enough for shorts. Only four other people had signed the register since David, Brad, and I were there a couple weeks earlier. The southern hike through Hall’s creek canyon was a great view as the sun was rising, more beautiful heading south, than north.
At 8 a.m. I turned west into what I thought was Muley Twist Canyon. (I think you see where this is heading!) The cutoff to it seemed rather short and the canyon seemed different, but I continued on, west and then north. Every 10-15 minutes I would debate with myself if I was in the right canyon. It was stunning, but seemed different. I also saw only one set of footprints, odd that I couldn’t see our prints from two weeks ago. But I kept running up the creek bed. Finally, I was dumped out into an open valley, running up a creek bed that started winding back and forth. I knew I was in trouble. Things looked oddly familiar. Then I noticed two sets of very familiar prints heading up the creek bed. “Hold it, those prints belong to David and Brad!” I popped up out the creek, headed west, and found a trail. Sure enough, I was in Halls Creek, only about one mile from my car and the trailhead! I had been in Halls Creek the whole time, the lower part had carved through the Waterpocket Fold. 2.5 hours of running, only to end me up almost where I started! Got to get that GPS for Christmas!
Feeling very stupid, I was determined not to let the Waterpocket Fold get the best of me. I again headed south on the trail. I passed the canyon entrance where I made my mistake and pressed on down the trail. After awhile I saw a sign coming up…I thought, “great the sign to the Canyon.” To my horror, the sign said, “Muley Tanks.” I again missed the
canyon, had overshot by a mile. I checked out the tanks that I couldn’t find a couple weeks earlier. They were large pools, or tanks in the slick-rock, full of frozen water. Still determined, I headed north, bushwhacked, searching for the right canyon…found a very cool slot canyon on the way.
At 10:30, I located the right stream bed, found the trail marker for the cutoff, and finally knew I was in the right place. After 3.5 hours of solid running, covering about 13 miles, I was ready to go. I didn’t feel too dumb when I saw how absolutely hidden the canyon entrance looked.
At the 15-mile mark, my sore knees kicked in, but the hike up Muley Twist was stunning…wow. Our tracks from two weeks ago were still very fresh…no rain or wind disturbed them. The up-stream prospective gave it a totally new look. Covering the eight miles in just over two hours, I found the cut-off to “The Post.” The steep hike down the Waterpocket Fold was an agonizing crawl because of my very sore knees, including my knee caps. I reached the car a little after 2 p.m. A seven-hour hike, like two weeks ago, but this time adding about eight miles.
Despite the challenges, it was a great hike. I have to list Lower Muley Twist up near the top of my favorite hikes.