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Monday, August 1, 2011

Headquarters Canyon

We spent the Friday of our vacation at Headquarters Canyon.  Since it's in the far south area of Capitol Reef, it took a while driving to get there.  We drove through the park, then down the Notom Road.  As we drove, we noticed a few construction vehicles turn off at the Fremont River Falls area.  Apparently the falls are now shut down indefinitely. 
It's a pretty drive, but I had to wonder why the section of the road in the park was the section of the road that was worst maintained.  The drive on the east side of the Waterpocket Fold was really pretty and remote.  We made it to the trailhead after about 30 miles of dirt roads, and had it to ourselves.  We loaded up, then started hiking.
Along the way, as we walked through an area where the water has eroded a small ledge, a dove quickly flew up and away.  It appeared to me a defensive distracting measure that mother birds often do to distract predators from their young.  Of course we looked and found the nest!  There were two young doves sitting on a small shelf.  We approached, took a few pictures, then left them otherwise undisturbed. 
Around a turn or two, of the wash, the canyon slotted up really quickly.  The kids really liked the narrows, but I found them a little bit short.  We played around and practiced stemming for a while before looking further up the canyon.  The canyon opens up, and while remaining narrow, is no longer a slot canyon.  We walked up it for a while before deciding that the best part was behind us. 
We turned around, then headed back to the slot for more monkeying around.  We played for a while, but the wind picked up sand as it passed through the slot, so we decided it best to head back to the cars for lunch.
Nearest City: Boulder, UT
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Generally easy. 
Kid Friendly: Kindof
Additional Info:  Bring your own water.  If you break down, don't count on your cell phone working, or other people coming along frequently. 

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