Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Capital Reef National Park June 27

June 27-----Never heard of Capital Reef National Park? Neither had we. How can a reef be in the desert? The reef here is made of rock. It is a mountain range of beautiful color that is 95 miles long. It an uprising that occurred under glaciers millions of years ago. The glaciers melted, volcanoes that had gone off under water had spewed lava  rock everywhere, and the mountain range was impassable to explorers. Therefore, the name 'Reef'.  Capital Reef National Park is the least visited an one of the most isolated of the national parks. We HAD to explore it. It has a modern story of Mormon settlers in a town called Fruita, because of the fruit orchards that are still here. You can pick apples, apricots, peaches, cherries, and other fruit off the trees and eat it for FREE, when it is ripe and they open the orchards. There are fantastic petroglyphs and pictographs from the puebloan natives of 800 years ago.  There are canyons that you can drive a Jeep through, and trails at the end of that. We had a picnic in a shaded area, and there were woodpeckers, deer, crazy little chipmunk-like squirrels, and marmots within fifty feet of us as we ate. Butch Cassidy hid in the same canyons we walked. I saw mountain lion or bobcat tracks in the sand next to the 'tanks', which were big rock bowls of water way up in a canyon in the middle of the desert, left over from snowmelt or rains, months ago. It was also hot as hell. There were NO Orientals with cameras! It was a cool place. The rocks were the stars of the show. The colors were a deep red, there were piles of grey lava dust, there were white rocks laying in red dirt, there were colors that I can't describe because they were never in MY crayon box. Great place. Torrey, Utah is a neat little town nestled among these rocks. I had never heard of any of these places I have been to since I left Bryce Canyon. This is all SO COOL!

The unheard of national park!

View from a look out point - you have no idea how huge these boulders really are!

View from a look out point at park entrance

Mike straddling two large boulders

Cool rock formations

Up on a lookout

Awesome view

This is known as the Fluted Wall

The sign was pointing at a rock formation, not Mike!!

The Castle

In historic Fruita, they had a little shop that sold pies!  Our course we had to have the strawberry rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream!!

Part of the farm (old Mormon settlement) in Fruita

On the farm

What scenery

Driving on scenery drive

Leaving scenery road and heading down a 4x4 road

Where our hike begins!  It follows an old wagon trail that brought the settlers around the reef

The wagon trail

The Pioneer Register - the wall was filled with names and dates of when they passed through!

Rolling down the wagon trail!  It was crazy hot and middle of afternoon.  What were we thinking!?

Climbing up the boulders to see "the tanks"

One of the tanks that holds snow melt

Cool stone bridge that nature created

Another tank

Our trail head

Pam was driving, Mike was hanging out the roof taking pictures!

The Egyptian Temple

The two dark spots are blocked off entrances to an old uranium mine.  


Golden squirrel - doesn't he look like a chipmunk?



Boulder by the Fruita grade school in historic Fruita

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