Capitol Reef National Park: Part 1

From Moab, Utah where we stayed while visiting Arches, we drove back north to Green River, then southwest to Torrey. We stayed here for a couple of nights while visiting Capitol Reef National Park.

I like this relatively small, relatively unvisited park. There are fewer hikes and nothing so magnificent as Delicate Arch, but those are perhaps good things. It keeps the crowd size down.

Capitol Reef includes the remains of a settlement called Fruita. Many of the original buildings and orchards remain. The Parks service runs a bakery in one building that sells fresh pies and cinnamon buns daily.

We arrived at lunch time, so began our visit at the picnic area near some of the Fruita orchards.

After lunch, we followed the 12 mile scenic drive up the valley. The last two miles or so are unpaved, dusty and narrow. The reward for dodging oncoming vehicles and breathing dust is a rather nice walk through a canyon. Nineteenth century pioneers used the canyon as a route west. Some carved their names into the canyon walls to mark their passage. See if you can find them in the photos.

Near the far end of this flat canyon walk, we met this friendly family from Colorado. The two daughters were entertaining and adventurous. How adventurous? Think cartwheels on the edge of the fresh water pool you are about to see.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because the walk had been so easy, we decided to follow a short steep trail to see ”water tanks”. These are a couple of natural bowls that catch a fair amount of rain/snow runoff. I imagine the pioneers were happy to find them.

We returned the 200 feet of elevation that we gained hiking to the pool and followed the canyon back to the trailhead.

Back in the car, through the dust, down the valley and on to Torrey and our motel.

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