Today, we drive backcountry 4×4 roads from Lake Powell to a dispersed camp along FS-300, Smoky Mountain Road.
Very easy travel – basically hard dirt and some gravel sections.
Day Five – Monday, 17 May
After a somewhat cramped night in Glenn’s T3, I get up right at sunrise and make some early coffee. I also use this time to inspect my Hubba Hubba tent in more detail. I confirm that, without pole replacement, the tent will not be usable for the remainder of trip, even with no rain in the forecast.
After Glenn gets up, we make a late breakfast, and discuss options for my sleeping arrangements going forward. I do have my (“leisure”) hammock, a ENO Double Nest, and Glenn brought his as well, including his 3-season underquilt and tarp. I can either use my regular sleeping bag, or my lighter Swagman Roll as a blanket, hammocking seems to be an obvious option for me. Unfortunately, proper tree support is an issue in Southern UT, so I may have to deploy the hammock either on the ground, or figure out an alternative – and it will not include sharing the T3 :)…
With some more discussion, and weighing pros and cons, we make the decision to break camp and head back to the Walmart in Page, where we can resupply with food and drink, and I can look for an inexpensive tent.
We break camp in no time and head on back out from Lake Powell to HWY 89, and South toward Page. We split up, with Glenn getting provisions, and me looking for a tent in the camping section. I find a cheap (around $25) 2-person dome tent and decide it’ll do what I need – for this trip.
After checking out, we get back to our vehicles, stop at the McD across the road for some lunch, and then head back North to start our trek to Capitol Reef, which we are scheduled to reach tomorrow.
Our trek takes us back to Big Water via 89, then onto Nipple Creek Road toward FS-300. We air down again and get on the way.
The drive is easy, but scenic, and being easy has the advantage of being able to look around and enjoy the scenery. We follow Smoky Mountain Road North, then decide to “backtrack” via Smoky Hollow Road (FS-330), driving a nice, easy, scenic loop. We stop many times along the way to look at the rigged beauty of the area, before re-joining FS-300 and heading back North, looking for a dispersed camp spot for the night.
After some time, we find a gorgeous overlook with enough room for our rigs and tents, and we set up for the night. Unpacking and setting up the new “el cheapo” tent is easy, but I can definitely tell the low quality of this tent – oh well, I just need it to hold together for a couple of nights…
Dinner and some cold ones are next, and we watch the sunset overlooking the valley to the South. We can even see our previous camp spot on the beach at Lake Powell, as well as Page in the distance. After sunset, the lights in and around Page are clearly visible from our vantage spot. We turn in reasonably early and fall asleep quickly.
Another great day in the bag.
We keep heading North toward Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park – via the backroads…