Capitol Reef - Day 3

Today we FINALLY got to go to Cathedral Valley.  Most of the road there was in BLM land still.  It looked like we were in similar country as the San Rafael Swell.  We stopped in the BLM land so Pat could walk for a bit, and investingate the hills that were shimmering in the light.  the sand was interspersed with ribbons of rock that we thought were crystal, but later found out were gypsum, a type of salt.  I gathered up a couple of pieces of gypsum, and one of the a pitted black lava rocks that sprinkled the landscape, and brought them home with me.  I've collected rocks from quite a few places we've gone to put in my flower bed.

Then we entered the park again - no more collecting rocks!  Our first stop was the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon.  They are the largest cathedrals in the valley, though slightly separate from the rest.  They were huge!  And so far away from anything besides flat ground.  Very beautiful.

Temple of the Moon - look how tiny I am in the photo:

I loved this little spire on the side:

Temple of the Sun - way bigger than Temple of the Moon, but you can't tell since I'm further back:

Also in that area was Glass Mountain, an entire hill formed almost solely of gypsum.  The different pieces were put together every which way, and they caught the sun a lot:

Next stop on the list was the Gypsum Sinkhole.  It was much bigger than we were expecting:

Then we got to drive through the main part of Cathedral Valley.  It was absolutely stunning.  Then we climbed up out of the valley and found the campground that we planned on staying at the entire time, and of course it was deserted.  We sat there and ate lunch.  Then we drove out to the Cathedral Valley overlook:

While in this area, looking at how beautiful the surroundings were, I decided that it would be awesome if I could turn my yard at home into a desert.  Just plant some Utah Junipers, Pinyon Pines, Sagebrush, and a few cacti, add some sand & rocks, and I'd be set!  No watering and minimal yardwork.  The neighbors might hate me, but it's got to be better that the backyard full of weeds that I currently have.

It was getting pretty late in the day, and we still needed to get home, so we hit the trail again and tried to avoid too many stops.  We could probably spend a week in that one small area and still not have time to see everything we wanted to.  I did have to stop to take a picture of this balancing rock though:

And then we stopped at the lower desert overlook.  We were really glad we did!  It was beautiful again:

Also, there was a stripe of white in the rock around the area.  In that white section by us the rocks had formed to look like the goblins in Goblin Valley.  So cool!

One more quick stop was made at the Bentonite hills.  The landscape was just too eerie.  And so colorful too!

That was our last stop before we hit the highway again.  On out way back through the park we did stop at one turnoff to look at a waterfall.  We had driven past it a couple of times but we were always in a hurry or it was too dark to stop.  The Fremont river that flows through the canyon goes through a section of slickrock, and has carved out a very narrow channel up above, before plummeting down the hill.  Very pretty!

I would have to say we had more setbacks than usual on this trip, but we remained in good spirits for the most part.  I am so grateful we live where we do, so that we are able to see this gorgeous country only few hours away.  I would love to move down south one day so that I can be closer to it all.  I am also grateful that my parents took me camping to these kinds of places when I was growing up, and helped instill my spirit of adventure.  I hope that the next time we go on an adventure that we can have some friends and family join us.  You are always welcome!

1 comment:

EmmaP said...

very cool! and I didn't even Know you were in that first pic until i read it. I had to go back and look really hard!!!