Day 17 - Capitol Reef National Park
We must be getting a bit jaded (a little geological humor). If we hadn't just spent four lovely days in Moab seeing Arches and Canyonlands, Capital Reef would have been spectacular. The drive was lovely and scenic, and after the slightly overrun town of Moab, tourists were back down to a reasonable number. The geological features in the park were very similar to Canyonlands, with wide mesas and striated rocks. Although quite beautiful, we just didn't enjoy it as much as Canyonlands. We did find the iconic symbol that lent its name to the park though. It looks a bit like our capital building in Washington!
Of historical note, there was an early small Mormon settlement called Fruita fairly close to the entrance to the park. It survived until the early 1940s, and they planted many orchards there, some of which still exist (and are maintained), along with a one-room schoolhouse. The local turkeys enjoyed the apple pickings, as did we. Also walked along a path to see some petroglyphs which were fairly washed out.
Capital Reef is most known for a geological feature called the Waterpocket Fold. It's like a wrinkle in the earth - an almost hundred mile stretch where, over millions of years geologic forces shaped, lifted, and folded the earth creating a rugged remote area. We saw many examples of this during our road travels.
We took the scenic drive, intending to go on a few of the easy hikes. Stupidly, we did not buy the scenic drive map at the visitor center. At all of the previous parks, everything was well marked. This one was not. Although we tried to piece together the sights (and the sites) from our two wonderful guidebooks, it was quite difficult, and we could not be sure if what we saw was the Egyptian Temple, Ferns Nipple, or the slickrock slide. To add to our frustration, both trails we had hoped to hike were off of long dirt roads. Our RV contract expressively forbids any "off-roading " or traveling on unpaved surfaces, and we didn't want to take the chance.
So, after a lovely picnic and a visit to the little store called Gifford House (part of the original Mormon settlement) where we bought an incredible peach pie, we saw some of the park, and called it a day.
Back at our campground in nearby Torrey, Utah, we lit a candle, cut up an apple from the orchard, dipped it in honey, and said the Motzi over a loaf of bread from Gifford 's store, and ushered in Rosh Hashonah. A funny side note: Wendy had looked in at least four stores the day before for anything that resembled Challah. There is no such thing in Morman country!