Exiting Long Canyon (it's about nine miles long), we catapulted out onto a landscape where we were greeted by the massive Henry Mountains to the north. This is the last mountain range to be given a name. John Wesley Powell named it after the Secretary of the Interior who sponsored his 1869 expedition. Campfires aren't permitted in Capital Reef Monument, about 20 miles farther down the trail, so our bivouac was on a 4WD trail (name unknown) out among the cedars. Here at night, there is no residual glow from urban centers, only the ebony black sky dotted with billions of brilliant diamonds and laced with meteors.

Entering the southern end of Capital Reef Monument, the topography begins to morph into awesome vistas. Inside the Monument is a trail called Upper Muley Twist, where 4WD and a high clearance vehicle are mandatory, which made this side trip a perfect fit for the Ram Power Wagon. A mile and a half in, you begin to follow a dry riverbed lined on both sides by canyon walls that stretch higher and get narrower the farther in you go. Here, the vertical red and white rock walls and green junipers are interrupted by natural arches that defy description. If there's any chance it might rain, even behind you to the west, remember this riverbed and beds like it are the drainage paths for millions of acres of runoff. From out of nowhere, walls of water can instantly consume anything in their path. Long story short, don't take the chance. However, when nature is behaving, the payoff is superb. After parking your truck and a taking a half-mile hike up and across a red rock incline, you are at a point that yields one of the most awesome views you will ever see, to the north and the south. It's called the Water Pocket Fold (also named by John Wesley Powell in 1869).

There are some switchbacks along the Burr Trail where John Burr drove his cows a couple thousand feet down to the floor below in what today is Capital Reef Monument. From above, the trail looks like a string of attached paper clips that disappear down into the vast landscape. At the bottom, a well-marked junction points the way to Lake Powell, where there are slot canyons along the way in the face of the Water Pocket Fold, which make for great day hikes. One such is Surprise Canyon, about six miles round trip. You'll need water, snacks, sun protection, a hat, protective clothing, and good footwear. Again, keep in mind these slot canyons are the drainage paths for rain that falls to the west. Coyotes, deer, flora (beautiful desert flowers), lynx, and rattlesnakes can surprise and delight, so have your camera ready.

At the end of the Burr Trail, Lake Powell sits waiting, where during the summer months a dip in the cold water washes off the trail dust and brings your core body temperature back down to its normal range. This is the perfect way to bring your adventure to a conclusion.