South Draw Loop

After a night out with Raylee, it was now time for to trade her out for Lennox.  For this little adventure, we'd do a bit of off-road driving with the South Draw Road through Capitol Reef, making a loop of it, followed by a night of camping just outside of the town of Torrey.  My father-in-law rode along for the drive part.

- Day 1 -
Wednesday - June 13, 2018

We started by driving up Highway 12 up on to Boulder Mountain from Torrey.  We pulled over at one of the overlooks to get a view down across the flats we'd soon be driving through.  

After turning off of Highway 12 and down around Lower Bowns Reservoir, we pulled over for a quick look at an old rancher corral.

Moving on, we took a little short side road out to Pleasant Creek to enjoy the little slot and waterfall in action there. It sure felt different driving down to it this time from above than hiking to it from below as I had done so the year before.

Back on the main route, we drove on across Tantalus Flats and up through Sheets Draw.  There was a little arch high up on the ridge of the Salmon.  Just a couple weeks before I had been been poking around the Salmon on an overnight hike from Pleasant Creek down through Sheets Gulch.  I ended up camping not far from the other side of the arch.

Minutes later, we were passing through the boundary into Capitol Reef National Park and getting ready for the roughest part of the drive.  I prepared my 4Runner by letting much of the pressure out of the tires.

Cresting over and into South Draw provided some great views northward across the western face of the northern half of the Waterpocket Fold.  The road was good fun for gaining a bit more off-road experience.  I was glad to have my father-in-law along, getting out in a few spots to help spot me through a couple of the tricky bits (see video at end of post).  The stock clearance handled it all well.

Once down into the bottom of the draw, it was a fair simple and straight forward drive along much of the wash to the Pleasant Creek crossing.  There, we pulled over at the trailhead so I could lead Lennox and my father-in-law along for a short hike up to a couple of petroglyph panels.

From the panels, we poked around the canyon walls to do a bit of exploring.

Back on the road, we head up out of the park to drop off my father-in-law back at his home in Torrey.

Along the way out, we made another brief stop in Fruita so that Lennox could check out the resident horses.  Horses are among his favorite animals and he's always thrilled when he gets the chance to interact with one.

After dropping my father-in-law off, we found ourselves a cozy little spot on the outskirts of town to set up camp for the night.  There, we enjoyed a pretty spectacular sunset to close out the day.

After the evening sky show, we had ourselves some dinner, relaxed around the fire, and took a few night photos before jumping into bed.

- Day 2 -
Thursday - June 14, 2018

The next morning was an early out so as to get back home for work in the afternoon.  We packed up and drove back into town to pick up Raylee.

Both Raylee and Lennox were treated to breakfast early on and then some ice cream near the end of the ride home.  It was another great time making some one-on-one memories with my kids in the outdoors.

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