Adventure 2021: Capitol Reef National Park — Lower Muley Twist, Day 2 (May 14)

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Sleeping late never pays off in the desert, but it always feels good in the morning. We had spent the night on sandstone slabs, tent-less and open to the sky.

Of course as we were packing up we found a scorpion about half-way between our two sleeping bags. We took photos and continued packing up. We didn’t worry too much about it, only realizing after we got home that it was an Arizona Bark Scorpion.

The potentially lethal venom it packs is a powerful neurotoxin that causes severe pain. Patients who have survived describe the pain akin to getting “severe electric jolts”. More serious cases include numbness, diarrhea and vomiting as symptoms, which could lead to death. If left untreated, the survival rate of a patient can range from 1 to 25%, depending on the patient’s overall health and age.

(Source: americanoutdoor.guide)

Arizona Bark Scorpian (image is blurry; didn't want to get too close...)
Arizona Bark Scorpian (image is blurry; didn’t want to get too close…)

With two meals behind us, our packs were lighter, or at least that’s what we told ourselves.

The canyon was spectacular, with tall walls and enormous alcoves. Somehow, though, we had both gotten the impression that it was a slot canyon, and that was not the case. As the day went on, the desert warmed up, shade became harder to find, and we regretted the misperception.

We made three major stops in alcoves along the canyon. The first was the grandest, with an overhang big enough for a city block (or two).

The second allowed for a cool rest and meditation.

The third alcove was home to an old cowboy camp from the 1920s. This was mostly dried up mud, or maybe dried up cow and horse patties from a century ago, but we preferred to believe it was mud. We did find a nice shady section in this last one where we read books and waited for the afternoon sun to start going down.

We ended up camping very close to the last narrow section at the mouth of the canyon. We had seen only four people all day, and thought about camping on slick rock next to the trail, but I found a sandy gully that led away from the trail to a cute slick rock valley. We named it Camp Yellow Rock, after the huge cliff of Navajo sandstone that rose behind the camp, and the pools of yellow sand that filled the Valley.

Once again we camped under the stars, falling asleep to the swirl of bats against an ocean of stars.

8 miles, based on guidebooks. Strava thought we did 18, but I blame that on the sporadic signal caused by the high canyon walls (visible in the squiggles of our GPS track in the map below).

Strava Link

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