How do you define epic?
From the dictionary you will find “heroic or grand in scale or character: his epic journey around the world” or “very imposing or impressive”.
The four of us believe we must add an element of danger and/or risk of injury to the definition to make any adventure truly epic.
Capital Reef National Park, established on December 18, 1971 and encompassing 241,904 acres is another one of those parks that could be considered a “drive through” as Utah Route 24 goes from east to west and you can just simply stop at the vistas to take in the views and keep on going. In fact, we kinda did that the first day we were there as our campground was on the west side of the park. We stopped at a few of the vistas and even took a couple of decent hikes to Hickman Bridge and Grand Wash (a canyon) on that first day.
Our epic hike, though, was an unmarked trail that the Ranger let us know about that we did on the second day. It was a five-miler upstream through a river bed from just south of the Ranger Station to Panorama Point. The river was just barely flowing at this point in the season which is what made this hike possible. That’s not what made it epic. And it wasn’t the distance nor the heat nor the threat of flash floods in the canyons that made it epic either. It was finding our way up the three waterfalls along the route, especially that first one!
It was only about 10′ high and there was plenty of room to get up there. However, we had wet boots and even barefoot didn’t work either as the rock was just to slippery. There was a pond at the bottom and a ledge to one side. I tried that path many times but just couldn’t find a hand hold that made me feel confident that I’d get across that ledge without slipping, smashing my head on the ledge and landing unconscious in the pond below. And me being the tallest of the group, well, if I couldn’t reach across it was going to be really tough for the rest of the group too. And, we were over a mile into the canyon at this point so help was not close by if anyone got injured attempting this crossing.
Arthur found his way up the ledge of the waterfall and was convinced we could all make it up that way. I went up second and made it. Then it was up to RT & I to pull Linda up over the top once she found a way to get close. Next was Siobhan, climbing up to the top and RT and I pulling her up and over the top. Risky but exciting. We all made it and looked forward to the next two climbs along the way.
We came across a few other hikers further into the canyon and got some helpful tips from each of them as to how to make it past the remaining falls. One guy even shared a path through a small tunnel into the rocks that made the last fall easier for sure.
In the morning we had locked our bikes at the parking area for Chimney Rock which was to be the end of our hiking route just across Route 24 from Panorama Point. That left us with a few miles to ride back to the car in our hiking gear but, thankfully, it was mostly down hill!
Back at the campground, we decided to try out our RV’s outdoor TV to watch a movie that night called “RV”! It was funny when we watched it prior to doing any RVing, it was absolutely hilarious after having RV experience. We were all laughing so hard it hurt! What a great time! It was like being at our own personal drive in theater. RT & Linder even brought popcorn. Hopefully, we didn’t disturb our neighbors too much?