Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 1:capitol reef national park.

DAY ONE: Capitol Reef National Park

I have never been to capitol reef. To be honest, I had never really heard of it until I started researching for this trip.  But in my reading and internet surfing, I found a common theme. "a gem". "hidden treasure". "nobody knows about it".
Capitol reef doesn't get the respect, recognition or props it deserves. It its competing with other more popular parks in southern Utah, like zion, Bryce, arches, and canyon lands. And let me say, it is a shame. We LOVED this park. So glad we decided to give it a chance. We will most definitely come back.

Started the trip with the obligatory park sign photo opportunity.

When we first entered the park, we oohed and aahed and stopped at every look out point, every drive off point...everything just got more beautiful then the last.  Finally we had to actually get into the visitors center etc, because quite frankly we had spent 3 hours in the first few miles of the park. Every turn was a surprise, every stopoff was more beautiful than the last. I didnt think it could get much more beautiful ...boy was I wrong.

We hiked up one of the trails at Chimney Rock. That was really spectacular. Just the sort of hike two adventurous boys loved.  No paved trails. Scrambling over rocks and up cliffs, death around the door at one missed footstep. (Needless to say we kept close watch on Peter)
Downside...the elevation is so high up there, you only get like 70% of the oxygen. I was kind of light headed and dizzy and winded most of this trip.  But we soldiered on.
Chimney Rock

Peter and I starting the hike at Chimney Rock
 The rock formations were really interesting. This was just such a fascinating park. I had never really seen anything like it before.  The sad thing is, it was never really crowded. Like I said, this was a park that not a lot of people come to.  It isnt as famous as its competing parks in Utah.  BUT It is NOT to be missed. It was amazing.
Stopping off at a nice cool overhang...

Charles and Boys resting

Love the patterning on the rock from freezing and erosion

You can see how far the parking lot is at one point.

hiking more.

You can see the fault like and fracturing as explained in this sign and below is our photo of the same area. It is amazing.

So we finally made it to the visitors center and CASTLE ROCK.

You can see it from the side as we were driving up to it.

 Facing front, visitors center directly behind me as I took this picture.

Close up of the rocks.

After the visitors center we took a scenic route through the park and stopped off at various points of interest.  We went to the Petroglyphs.
 These petroglyphs are attributed to the Fremont Culture, that was here between 600 and 1300AD.
The Fremont people were contemporaries of the Puebloans of the Four Corners Area.

 Some of these are very faint, but you can still make them out.  Unfortunately, there are people who have carved things into the walls as well, effectively graffiti-ing over it.  Now there are fences so you cant get too close.

Now here are some photos of the various other beautiful points of the park:

Yes, thats Finn walking along that rock bluff

 Finn, again, having the time of his life.

this is the one room schoolhouse the mormon pioneers built when they settled in the area.

Gooseneck of canyon floor
Peter "The Hulk" holding up a rock for us.
The Golden Throne
Egyptian Temple formation

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Close up of bands on rocks

All in all I would say that this was a successful trip and outing for Day 1.  We stayed in Torrey, UT that night and went to Slackers for dinner.  Boys had a great time, we had a great time and went to bed tired, worn out and excited for the next days treasures awaiting us.

As far as this National Park is is one of my favorites. I am going to add my vote as "A true hidden Gem. NOT TO BE MISSED".  Capitol Reef, I WILL be back.

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