It was a beautiful day for hiking – temperatures in the high 60s and sunny. We chose to do the 4.2 mile “Devil’s Hall Trail” today to see what the hiking here would be like. We got on the trail by 9 am and proceeded at a “Naturalists Pace”, pausing frequently to admire the view and minutiae and take pictures. We immediately ascended a rise which gave us a great view of our campground and RV…
(We have the rig in the foreground – the one between the trees with the yellow canoe on the truck.)
The trail was a footpath running over small ridges for about a mile. The towering peaks of the Capital reef surrounded us. This pair of lightning-struck trees along the path served as a good reminder to respect mother nature at all times…
We moved in and out of stands of Alligator Juniper, Oaks, and these beautiful Texas Madrone trees. The Madrones prefer shadowy canyons, where they stay cooler and get more moisture. Their bark is very distinctive, both in it’s smooth texture and ruddy color. The local names for this tree are “Lady’s Leg” and “Naked Indian”. Most of the trees had fruits on them, and there was plenty of berry-laden scat along the trail to show that the critters love these pea-sized fruits.
The trail was fairly easy to follow along the ridge-line, but once it descended to the wide, boulder strewn wash below it was harder to pick out the best path to follow. The little piles of stones (Inukshuks) used as trial markers indicated the best path to follow and were very helpful. Many of them were rather small however, so you had to stay on the look-out for them.
The trail is rated “Moderate” in difficulty, and we kept a slow, steady and careful pace and had no problems. A fellow hiker, however, fell twice on the boulder scramble portion and left blood on the trail. By late morning we had reached the small, spring fed pool in the rocks that indicated we were nearing the terminus of the trail, and shortly after we arrived at the “Devil’s Hall” – a narrowing of the canyon with nearly vertical walls. We had a leisurely lunch and retraced our steps back down the trail, arriving back at our campsite at 1 pm.
It was a terrific hike and aside from feeling a bit tired, we were none the worse for wear. Tomorrow and the next day will bring longer and more challenging hikes – and the altitude definitely has a noticeable effect on us old-fart hikers – but we will go slow and steady and can bet we’ll have a great time!