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Capitol Reef 3 October 2014

799 : 1236

With Great Basin, this is our least visited National Park. It, like Great Basin, is out in the midddle of nowhere – specifically, halfway between Torrey and Hanksville, Utah. What? You haven't been there?

I'd love to go back and spend a few days exploring ... just as I'd like some days to explore the rest of Canyonlands ... if it just wasn't so remote. After a full day of Staircase climbing, we got to Capitol Reef's tiny campground to find it full. After seven nights of near-freezing camping we were ready for a night in a motel anyway, and Torrey provides a nearby respite. 

We got back in the van and headed into the Park just as the golden light of the setting sun was illuminating the tops of the rocks, and reflecting into the deep canyons that mark the place.

800 : 1230

On land, a reef is a barrier. One seeks, and sometimes finds, passes through. The Escalante road was superb at finding holes through its many folded ranges. Here, Waterpocket Fold is the valley just west of Capitol Reef, and we followed the dirt road that winds through the Fold as the light failed.

801 : 1224

802 : 1215

Here's our Jucy van parked beside the road while Sienna and I take in the last of the light.

This light is impossible to photograph; it has to be seen to be believed. It's a phenomenon throughout the Southwest, dawn and dusk, when the rocks glow subtly with light reflected from the higher rocks, usually red, and the redness of the sunset.

As one winds deeper into one of these sinuous canyons, one often wonders where, or if, the road continues past the next bend. Where could it possibly go? This one kept winding, narrowing, but leading on. Evidence of the recent region wide rainstorm was everywhere apparent.

803 : 1207

804 : 1205

Wishing for more time, we returned to our room, wandered across the street for a good pizza and a surprising salad, and then went back for good showers and cushy beds. The next morning, we were up early and away (through Hanksville) across the desert, into the valley of the Green River, and then down the hill into Spanish Valley, or, as it is now known, Moab.

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