Monday, October 6, 2014

Sheets Gulch: A Costly Hike



Susan’s choice of hike yesterday was Sheets Gulch off Notom Road, their favorite hike in Capitol Reef. Since it was a 27 mile drive to the trailhead, and up to a 14 mile round trip hike, she wanted to leave at eight to have the whole day. Off we went in three cars, since Mark, Bobbie, Maikel and Susan were planning to do the entire hike. Debbie can only leave her dogs for so many hours so she would have to cut it short, and Jim and I were going to try to go about 4.5 miles into the gulch, which I read was a good turn around point.

It started out easy enough, just follow the gulch, but after a fork where we took a right, there were pools of water from last weeks heavy rain.


Made for some interesting reflections.




The water also caused us to have to climb out of the gulch to go around some of it, which involved lots of rock scrambling, some of it way above my comfort level.


And also made for lots of mud. Slippery, stick to your shoes like glue kind of mud. I think all of us had slips and either full or partial falls trying to navigate the muddy parts. It sure was beautiful, though.


Susan, doing a great balancing act.


Big cat?


At one point we came around a corner to find Mark, Jim and Bobbie praying to the red rock gods. Jim apparently didn’t pray hard enough, though.


When it came to having to wade through knee deep water and not knowing if I had the nerve to continue beyond, I suggested that Jim, Debbie and I turn back. Almost five miles round trip was a respectable distance.


We had a hard time figuring out where to exit the canyon, and after a much too long panic attack, I finally was able to sit down and scoot across a particularly steep, precarious ledge. Shortly after that, Jim slid down a muddy slope into a deep pool above his waist. He was fine, but as I was helping him get out of the very cold water, I realized our “good camera”, the Lumix he had on a chest strap, had also been submerged. He quickly removed the battery and SD card, but water was visible behind the lens. Not good. But just another typical day with the Box Canyon gang! We are working on sending the camera in for repair.

Today Jim and Allison joined us for a hike from our campsite to a trail that kB thought we could walk to. A couple hours later we never did find the trail, and in the process lost Jim, Maikel, and Susan. They returned an hour later, which was fine except that I was hungry and had no keys to get in the house.

Still a fun morning, but we need to communicate better on group hikes. Stay tuned to see if that really happens.

Only had to go under barbed wire once.


Man and dog.


Just can’t beat this scenery.




  1. Gorgeous but OH NO! Did you put the camera in a bag of rice for 4 or 5 days? That saved my camera and a couple of David's phones. It seems hard to keep individual comfort zones on a group hike. You sure went places the ordinary visitor doesn't get to see.

  2. Pack that camera in rice. It might be enough to save it. It's an old trick to drink out a wet camera.
    Nina and Paul (wheelingit)

  3. I winced when reading of your dunked camera. As you know, I have the same Lumix model and love it, so I feel for your potential loss. I hope it can be saved.

    That uncoordinated hike sounds almost like the last one we did together. It's hard to harmonize so many different hikers, it seems. I sure don't have any skill at it, being a 99% solo trekker by preference. Good luck on future excursions!

    1. We hung the camera out to dry yesterday since we thought the single digit humidity ought to be as good as a bag of rice, which I didn't have. This morning it would turn on and take a photo but the zoom didn't work. I tried it tonight and it seems to be working okay. TIme will tell. We can send it in to Panasonic for a flat $180, in which case they will either repair it or send us out a refurb. Better than buying a new camera but maybe we got lucky and won't have to.
      And yes, we talked about the hike today being similar to the one we did with you at Mitry Lake. Guess we don't learn much from our mistakes.

  4. That's some pretty country. New to you trails can turn treacherous quickly. Best to err on the side of caution to be safe. Glad you made it out OK.

  5. We did the gulch! It was one of our favorite hikes in the area. However, we didn't have any rain and the gulch was dry. We did have several choke stones that we had to get up and over. It was quite a comical process. You should check out our blog to see the gulch when dry:) I think the worst part was the mile hike in with the deep sand. Your hike didn't sound like much fun. So sorry to hear about the camera. Yes, get it into rice!!!

  6. One of Life's Little Adventures gone amuck :))
    You guys are great sports; most people would have shunned us by now… especially Gayle, for pushing her limit button, and for watching Jim search for and find the most dangerous way around obstacles. He has an obsession for danger zones :))
    Hope you guys are up for the bike ride tomorrow. Boonie's in charge of the route so we will get a day off from being the blame :)). Hope all the mud washed out of your clothes, and glad to hear the camera is breathing on its own. FYI, we have brown rice for your camera, but it's already cooked :((
    Mark and Bobbie, headed off to Upper Mulely. Great sunrise and clouds this AM!!! hope that doesn't mean rain...

  7. Sounds like a crazy couple of hikes! Too bad about your camera. Good luck with Panasonic service. I had one good service experience with them and one bad service experience. I've pretty much decided my next camera will not be a Panasonic!

  8. That photo of the reflections is amazing. It took me some time to sort it out! They say that any "landing" you walk away from isn't a "crash" so I guess the same could be said of hikes - you made it back :-) Like many, I'm much better on the up than I am on the down. I'm hoping my trekking poles will give me a better sense of security in some of those situations. I'm not above riding my butt to the bottom as well :-).

  9. Wow! What an adventure! Looks like a great, but scary hike.

  10. 'No guts, no glory,' says the woman who wouldn't have even attempted all that.