Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Capitol Reef - Could Be My Favorite!

October 1-3, 2017
Torrey, Utah

Photo overload alert!!!

As anticipated, the temps drop significantly. It's a chilly Sunday for staying home and watching football.  Monday morning we wake up to snow! It sticks until about 10 AM. The flakes continue until early afternoon then turn to rain. It's so pretty and quiet - we spend another day inside reading and watching movies. 

Snow slides down the window from the roof.
Tuesday morning is bright and sunny and we're off to see our third national park in Utah - Capitol Reef!

The Castle stands tall along Hwy 24 before the Visitors' Center.
We've made a habit of stopping at the VC before exploring the national parks we visit, and watching the "story of" movie. Arches' movie was one of the beat we've seen, but the Capitol Reef video is a big disappointment. Mostly people history, and very little geology other than water's a big deal - got that!

While the movie disappoints, this $1.99 informational map of the scenic drive is wonderful!! I highly recommend picking one up when you visit.

We learn about interesting traditions - like the Mail Tree where the mail carrier delivered weekly mail to boxes attached to the gnarly trunk. It's enjoying retirement now.
Throughout the drive we follow the Waterpocket Fold. Wingate Sandstone tops the shallow Chinle layer over the Moenkopi at the bottom. The cone in the background is Navajo Sandstone. Their different rate of erosion makes for wonderful formations.
The yellowish-gray rock is the bottom of the Chinle Formation, rich in uranium. The Oyler Mine opened in 1901 when uranium was used in medicine. Later it was sold for atomic weaponry. The mines were closed when the land became part of the national park.
Mostly seen on the top of formations, the yellow of Navajo Sandstone really stands out against the red and gray along the canyon floor.
Fallen boulders make their own "arch".

Iron-rich desert varnish stripes the cliff face.
A real arch - Cassidy Arch - named after the outlaw Butch Cassidy who is said to have hidden in the area.
The only critters we saw in the park - this Fluffy Dog sighting.

The towering escarpments make me feel insignificant.
There are beautiful and amazing views looking high up the cliffs. Colors and formations wow us throughout the drive. But being able to take our time to enjoy the surprises close to the ground is just as special.










As is always the case, the return drive gives us completely different views of what may be my favorite park in Utah. We're fortunate that although there are a lot of people here, we have several places to ourselves. I'm even able to stop on the road to grab a couple photos where there's no pull-outs.





I was going to include our trip to Escalante Staircase the following day, but this is already a lot of photos - I'll put them in the next post.


17 comments:

  1. We need to stop there as it is the only one we missed in Utah... maybe next time...

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    1. We missed Canyonlands, but this park is absolutely a must-see. Time to go back!!

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  2. I am so looking forward to a revisit to this park. Your photos really bring the colors to life.

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  3. Thank goodness for digital photography!!!! UT is a place of sensory overload!

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    1. You're so right - I've worn out my Wow!!

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  4. Yikes! Snow? Sounds like it is definitely time to get out of there and head a little farther south. Love the photos.

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    1. Naturally we had the AC on a couple days later :-))

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  5. Couldn't agree more about the park. My favorite too. Is there any fruit left for picking? Your pictures are fabulous. The hiking there was really wonderful. Thanks for showing me my first tree in retirement. Hope he's as happy about it as I am.

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    1. There were still apples that Amanda and Tim picked, but everything else was done.

      That is a very happy looking tree, instead of people picking up their mail, they're picnicing under it's old branches.

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  6. This is the most fantastic park. I wish we had been there with you to do some of neat back roads to other beautiful areas. Our friends that live there took us on some amazing road trips in their Jeep. I'm so glad you included so many photos. The rock formations and colors in this area are just spectacular. Your photos are beautiful:)

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    1. Thanks Pam. We would love to get in the back country, it's so beautiful! We want to come back and spend a couple weeks, but then I'd have a thousand pics :-)))

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  7. Definitely very beautiful country. Thanks for the great photos. The 'hounds' are back blogging again with a brand new url and all the 6 years of posts and pictures. Happy that football season is here?

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    1. Yay, will have to check them out :-)) Oh yes, always happy for football, and glad we're not on the east coast this year with games starting so late!

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    2. I use to love kickoff times for College and the NFL when I lived on the west coast ... now I have Pac12 games starting at 11pm my time or a day and night of NFL games on Sunday always leading me toward midnight before they are finished. Such is life of a football addict.

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  8. So beautiful! We love Capitol Reef, too -- and there's still so much of it we have yet to explore. It's fun seeing the park through your lens. Especially that unique wildlife sighting. :-))

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    1. You never know what critters you might see :-)

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