Monday, October 22, 2012

Capitol Reef and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 2012

We left Moab at 9:00 AM and arrived at Capitol Reef National Park at about 12:30 PM.
We encountered some windy areas and drove through a small sand storm.
When we came near the park the scenery was breath taking. At one point I would have liked to stop but Frank was already past the parking area. There were some spectacular, colorful stone formations.
Our camp ground is at the edge of the small town of Torrey. This is the view I have out of the windows.

After lunch we went to the park and stopped at the overlooks.
Our first stop was the Behunin Cabin. Ten people lived here. They had to eat their meals outside and some of the older boys slept in an underground addition.

On our way to the Hickman Bridge we enjoyed many beautiful sights.

The bridge is a natural bridge and to get there we had to hike one mile over a rough terrain. There were some steps and we had to climb over some boulders.
There was one more mile coming back.
On the trails we encounter German tourists. I have not spoken so much German for a long time.

The Fremont River meanders through the valley and Fremont Culture people had settled here to farm and gather food. Later Mormon Pioneers came later and planted fruit trees, there are still about 3,000 in the valley and some are 80 years old.

At the petroglyphs overlook we walked on a wooden walk way. The pictures are on smooth, straight walls.

This old school house is not used anymore. The little town of Fruita is gone. Its last private resident left in 1968.

In the evening I watched the Presidential Debate. The wind was hauling outside and the motorhome shook a little bit.
The weather was very pleasant today. It was between T shirt and Sweat shirt weather.

The sun was shining this morning on the cliffs near the campground. The trees lost most of their golden leaves last night. I lowered the TV antenna and brought the hydraulic jacks down to keep the motorhome from shaking. The wind was very strong.

Today’s first stop was the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor center. We watched the film about the park.
Not very far from the Visitor Center is the Castle.

We drove the Scenic Drive. The town of Fruita is gone but some of the buildings are still there. The blacksmith shop has still the tools and equipment the owner used.

We visited the Gifford House.

On a dirt road we drove to the Grand Wash and the Capitol Gorge. Frank took us to the end of both roads in his Honda Fit.We walked a little more than a mile into the gorge.Not only Indians left their marks on the sandstone cliffs, settlers also left their names and dates on the walls. One inscripion is from 1888.

On the way home we saw a few deer resting in the orchard.

One of the workers in the campground talked to Frank and when he saw the WIN decal on my car he told Frank that 30 WINs camped here last month. Actually we are here because I check for places to stay by reading the WINDOW, the bimonthly paper from the club.

We had a colorful sunset.

When we left Torrey we topped off the fuel tanks in the motorhomes, thinking gasoline would be more expensive in the smaller towns. We were wrong; we could have saved 20 cents per gallon.
The 65 miles from Torrey to Escalante took us over two hours.
We had to get over a 9,600 feet pass, and experienced a lot of up and downs, and many curves.
It was worth it though. The scenery was breath taking.
After lunch and a rest we went sightseeing. We are in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, spanning nearly 1.9 million acres of public land.
This vast and austere landscape has some spectacular valleys, cliffs and mountains.

In Boulder, Utah we visited the Anasazi State Park Museum. Besides the inside display there are also ruins and an excavation site.

Then we drove the 30 mile Scenic Backway Burr Trail. At the end of the paved portion of the trail we saw the Waterpocket Fold, a giant buckle in the earth’s crust, which stretches across south-central Utah.
There are colorful cliffs, massive domes, soaring spires, stark monoliths, twisting canyons, and graceful arches.

This is open range land and it pays to watch for cattle on the road.

Yesterday, while driving from Torrey to Escalante, we passed a couple on a tandem bicycle with a little trailer on the back.
Today, while sightseeing, we met them on an overlook. They come from Switzerland and are on a tour through the US and perhaps South America. Bicycling up those mountains in Utah is not easy.

We stopped for a while at the Hole in the Rock Heritage Center. Here are displays telling the story of the Mormon families who built a road through the mountains to the Colorado River.

At the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park we did the two mile hike. We had to climb up the mountain to the petrified logs.

People collected little pieces of petrified wood and deposited them on a large rock.

There are some big pieces laying around.

The view from the top was very nice.

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