August 17, 2015 Capitol Reef N.P. Utah

IMG_1092As beautiful as the area is, we were glad to leave Moab and head to Torrey where we would visit Capitol Reef National Park (NP).  Torrey is at a higher elevation than Moab, making it at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler.  We arrived at our campground in Torrey, a short drive from the park.  We settled under some trees which still allowed us satellite reception and we immediately noticed the cool refreshing breezes.  IMG_1108Quite a relief from our last campground with no shade.  Only complaint was no Verizon and the WiFi provided by the campground was spotty and unreliable.  At night we were able to sleep with the windows open and needed a light blanket!
Capitol Reef NP gets its name from the large sandstone domes that have eroded and resemble the U.S. Capitol building. A one hundred mile long wrinkle in the earth’s crust created 65 million years ago is filled with cliffs, gorges, canyons, arches and domes and is called the Waterpocket Fold.  This fold forms a reef like barrier limiting access in the park.   There are many dome like sandstone features in the park but one has been given the name Capitol Dome.


Capitol Dome



One of the prominently named landmarks in the park is The Castle.

There is an eight mile one way scenic drive that takes you down into the canyon where the temperature climbed to over 100 degrees.  Along this road are several dirt or gravel spur road that take you to overlooks or access to hiking trails.IMG_1096IMG_1099IMG_110620150817_10230920150817_102316

This is the first national park which has its own fruit orchards of apple, peach, cherry, pear and apricot trees left over from the days of the late 1800’s Mormon settlement called Fruita. Historic and heirloom fruit is grown here like the pioneer days.   In season you can enter designated orchards and eat for free as much fruit as you can hold.  Any you pick and take out of the orchard is $1.00 a pound.  While we were there apples were available for picking.  In the park are several historic pioneer settlements, still maintained as they were for 100 years, including farmhouse, barn, smokehouse and schoolhouse.

IMG_20150819_090434We walked the Grand Wash Trail which was a delightful flat trail with shady spots where the canyon walls shielded us from the sun.  We hiked to “The Narrows”, a really neat spot where the canyon walls closed in on us, making for some fun echoes.  After the hot steep trails in the other two parks, this trail was a welcome surprise with breathtaking canyon wall views.IMG_20150819_092837IMG_20150819_094453IMG_20150819_094023IMG_20150819_094817IMG_20150819_095132IMG_20150819_095541IMG_20150819_101645IMG_20150819_101808

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