No drive-by tourism for us this time around. We took it upon ourselves to spend some time walking the trails of the park. Why hike you ask? For one, Diane has really been hitting the potato chips hard and she needs the exercise desperately (what a mean and terrible thing to say! – especially since it’s not true. It’s the salted almonds that are doing her in.) . Secondly, it seems that not many people actually walk on the trails so there are no crowds like you encounter at all the pull-outs for photo opportunities. (Not that I’m crowd-averse or anything like that). Finally, you see things (like Cohab Canyon) that are not even visible from the road.
After stopping at the visitor center and getting recommendations for trails from the ranger we set off to the picnic area to park the bikes and go through the changing rituals. We were the only ones there so no one got blinded today when I changed tops. Note: The national park service groups trails into three categories: easy, moderate and strenuous. While I was ready to hit a strenuous Rim Overlook trail with 1110 feet of elevation change in 2.3 miles, snaking its way up the canyon wall (think Gewaltmarsch – English translation here.) Diane convinced me otherwise – as in ‘no f*ing way, I’ll wait for you at the bottom!’). So we settled on connecting two moderate rated trails – the Fremont River trail and the Cahob Canyon trail.
The Fremont River trail starts easy enough through the jungle along the river before starting the climb up the canyon wall. It took us longer than most people because Diane is so out of shape we had to stop frequently – just kidding!! We took a lot of pictures as you can see below. The overview point at the end of the trail has amazing views that cannot be captured by a photo – at least when we are in control of the shutter ;-).
After climbing back down and breaking for lunch we picked up the Cahob Canyon trail. By this time it was almost 14:00 and getting very warm (90º+ F). The first part ascends the canyon in steep switchbacks; we made our way up huffing and puffing. I told Diane the climb was her penance for not wanting to take the challenging highway 12 south to Escalante, UT ;-). Though she wasn’t thrilled she admitted that it was worth the effort once we got into the canyon. Just amazing. A very humbling experience standing at the bottom with sheer sandstone cliffs rising to the left and the right of you.