An early morning hike to experience a sunrise at another notorious place in the park followed by a drive along the eastern side of the the Waterpocket Fold made for a nice ending to my trip.
Having afforded myself to sleep in the morning before, I got off to another very early start. It was still pretty dark when I parked at the trailhead. From there it is about a mile and 400 ft in elevation gain to the bridge. I arrived before the sunrise and scouted the location, all the while observing clouds streaming in from the southeast. The sun took a while to hit the cliffs above the bridge, but when it finally did, it was a moment that makes you grateful you got up early.
|Dawn||Sunrise||Sunrise above Fruita Valley||Alpenglow|
|Alpenglow||Fruita Valley||Mountain light|
|Morning light||Pine tree|
As the sun rose, and illuminated the bridge, I started exploring the area around and under the bridge. Later I took a break in the wash below it, marveling at the colors of the rocks around me and the sky above me. When I walked back back down to the trailhead, I met a lot of people heading up. They would see the bridge in a different light, and probably never think they missed out.
|Under Hickman Bridge||Sun behind Hickman Bridge||Spider web|
|Shoes and the bridge||Hedgehogs||Hickman Bridge|
|Bonsai pine||Hickman Bridge Trail||Utah Highway 24|
During the rest of my time in the park, I wanted to get a flavor of the area to the east of the Waterpocket Fold and south of Highway 24. This area features several attractions, such as Halls Creek Narrows, that require a day or two of hiking, so the 5 hours I had were not enough. I will have to come back for more next time.
I ended up driving Notom-Bullfrog Road all the way to its intersection with Burr Trail. The road is paved for the first ten miles and switches to dirt farther south. The views were great and invited to come and explore more. When I reached Burr Trail Road, I drove up its famous switchbacks, rising 800 feet in just a half a mile. The clouds starting piling up ominously to the west and north. I drove through a thundershower on the way back, and another hit before I left the park. It was hard to leave when the storm clouds and rain added to the rugged scenery, but I had a plane to catch in Salt Lake City.
|Notom-Bullfrog Road||Desert||Ranch road|
|Road and the reef||Private property||Lonely street sign||Lonely street sign||Threatening sign||Machinery relics|
|Tractor||Hoodoos||Storm clouds||Cattle guard||Park sign|
|Waterpocket Fold||Lichen patterns||Threatening weather||Colorful rocks|
|Balanced||Split juniper||Burr Trail switchbacks||Burr Trail switchbacks|
|Steep grades||Dodge going down|