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Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park.

A place I would like to revisit for some longer trail runs is Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.  When we camped there in January, 1986, in the middle of winter, we had the place to ourselves.  It was so cold, the National Parks Service wasn't even bothering to collect fees.  We were running the Las Vegas Marathon a few days later, so were in the taper phase and I limited myself to a 10.5 mile circuit from the deserted campground.  It was, however, a memorable run to this day.

The view from the Frying Pan Trail.

I set out soon after 8am on a clear morning in sub-freezing temperatures, but soon warmed up on the Cohab Canyon Trail which zig-zagged up 100m in the first 500m, and then continued climbing to the Frying Pan Trail and the rocky heights at nearly 2000m altitude.  The views across the rocky, canyon-laced, plateau in the clear cold air were fantastic.  In many places I was more or less running cross country on rock slabs, soaking up the vistas, and savouring that feeling of being the only person on earth in this superb country.

The Grand Wash Trail.

After about 7km I joined the sandy Grand Wash Trail which followed a dry creek bed at the bottom of a sometimes narrow canyon, dominated by towering rocky walls.  Around 10km, I joined a park road in the Fremont River valley and followed that back to near the campground before rejoining the Cohab Canyon Trail for a short sharp climb over a knoll and back down to the campground.  It was only 10.5 miles, but because I was in the taper phase, I was feeling fresh and strong and that may explain why the run lives in my memory as such an enjoyable experience.

Cohab Canyon.

There are longer trails in Capitol Reef National Park and I look forward to returning there one day to check them out.

For today, I ran 10km, and although I laboured early until my Achilles tendon warmed up, I felt stronger than expected two days after a long trail run.  My time was quickish for this regular garbage run, despite getting struggling a bit on the climb up Avoca steps near the end, so I was happy.

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