Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I had a sudden onset of acute stomach/flu virus which incapacitated me for the night. I was weak and achy as I felt powerless to do anything. This reminded me that how lucky we were on our trip: everyone was basically healthy; there were a couple of scares: Kadia complained about not feeling well near Canyonlands so we had to stay at a motel for a couple of days to observer her (and prepared to go to a hospital) and her complaint of a toothache in Toronto. And there was one other incident when we hiked to the Tanks in Capitol Reef National Park through the Capitol Gorge Trail.

The Capitol Gorge trail is at the end of the Capitol Reef Scenic drive. Hiking in the Capitol Gorge The trail leads through the gorge (part of them also known as Petroglyphs Narrows) into the Capitol Reef backcountry. A popular destination there was the Tanks. We thought the trail would be mostly flat and only 2 miles round trip so I carried Bryden on a backpack and expected Kadia to hike herself. Capitol Gorge RegisterThe 1st half of the trail was flat, snaked through the gorge on the dry river bed with many interesting features: petroglyphs, pioneer registers, rock holes on canyon walls, side canyons, etc. Here were Kadia and I looking at the pioneer register: amazing how historical they had become now where as if we were to do it now, we would get fined.

As we came out of the gorge, a spur trail on the left led up to the Tanks. Capitol Gorge Trail We scrambled through some of the rocks there as the trail became hard to follow with occasional cairns here and there. End of Capitol Gorge TrailIn some place, we had to carry Kadia up and across. Soon we were at the top and hiked on slickrocks. When we got to the Tanks, we felt a little disappointed. The tanks were just a few potholes filled with some water. The Tank, Capitol Gorge TrailI couldn’t get around one big pothole easily with Bryden on my back so Kadia, Bryden and I stayed behind while Susan went ahead to explore.

As I was standing there looking at the big pothole, I felt something wet around my nose and wiped it with my hand. It was blood. I get bloody nose from time to time, especially when weather is dry so I didn’t think too much at the time. But this time was different, the blood kept coming and soon the blood was all over both of my hands and was dripping down on my boots and on the rock. Kadia stood motionless and was shocked as she watched me, drenched with blood. I had a difficult time getting down on the floor as I was still carrying Bryden, I didn’t have anything with me at the time to wipe the blood off or keep the blood from flowing and the backpack was making things difficult for me to do anything. Blood at the Tank I finally asked a couple of people who just came to help but they turned and walked away, didn’t want to look at me. I didn’t understand; perhaps they were scared to see that much blood. Finally Susan reappeared on the top of a rock and saw me; she rushed down and helped me to take off the backpack and lie down. She had some napkins so I used them to stop further bleeding and clean up. It was a mess.

At that time, I worried about how to get back and what happened if we were many more miles from our trailhead with two kids we had to carry. All of a sudden, it dawned on me the responsibility of carrying two kids: how difficult it could be if something were to happen to one of us, like spraining an ankle. We had to be extra cautious. Luckily we didn’t have another incident like this on the trip. Susan had to carry Bryden on the return trip as we slowly made out of the gorge and fortunately my nose bleed had stopped and we were able to do another beautiful hike that afternoon.
Kadia on Capitol Gorge Trail