The hike through Upper Muley Twist Canyon is a long, but unique hike in that it offers so many strange geological features. I had no plans to do this hike, but in June of 1999 my buddy Dan called me saying he was taking his scout group down there for an overnight hike of Upper Muley Twist, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a new hike.
After an early morning start we drove a vanload of scouts, myself, Dan, and another adult the 200 miles or so to get to Capital Reef National Park, which is truly in the middle of nowhere. A lot of dirt roads finally led to our trailhead and we hiked in a few miles along a dirt road to our campsite. One of the benefits was that it gave me a chance to try a new full-size pack that I had just recently bought, and it worked well for me. We got to our campsite quickly and set up. After debating whether we should hike the rest of the long loop this afternoon or the next day we finally decided to do it now.
After hiking further up through the canyon bottom, walled by red cliffs, the trail took a turn to the right and climbed to a ridge with a fantastic view to the north up Grand Gulch, a huge cut in the land. Some funky shaped rocks, called the "Waterpocket Fold" added to the scenery. From here it was about 2.5 miles of hiking on this rocky ridge with views of the Grand Gulch all the way beckoning for photographs. Soon the trail turned and descended back into the narrow canyon.
One spot required a difficult climb up smooth, slippery rock, but beyond that it was a long walk back through the narrow canyon, with various small arches along the way. We stopped in the shade for a rest on this hot day. We got back to camp and had a nice dinner before debating whether we should stay the night or go back home now. Eventually we decided to stay the night. The following morning we walked the dusty road back to the van and headed for the long drive back home.
The trip was a good one. The scouts turned out to be pretty easy to deal with, and Dan made a good leader. I can't say it was my favorite hike, as I did prefer hikes I've done in both Zion and Bryce to this one, but it was still a hike through unique and beautiful country.