September 16, 2012

9/13/12 - Capitol Reef NP

The Castle
Capitol Reef National Park is a relatively new park (1971).  That's at least new enough that I (a) hadn't heard much about it and (b) can't remember the name most of the time.  I know it begins with "C", and I know it's not Canyonlands or Cedar Breaks.  I just ask George--most of the time he remembers.

Capitol Reef is in the Waterpocket Fold (cool name,huh?) which is a wrinkle in the earth, probably a wrinkle in time too.  Utah Hwy 24 runs right through it, so before we went to it, we'd already been there.
The Mormons had a little settlement in Fruita--remnants of their fruit and nut orchards are still there (if you can call 3,000 trees remnants). You can pick fruit in the orchards, which is a unique thing to do in a national park. Anything you eat there is free--any you pick and take with you has a nominal fee.
There are ridges --called reefs, canyons, domes and bridges, all just made for gaping, pointing and photographs.  Erosion is the name of the game in this park.

The layers of rock eroded differently than in other parks on the Grand Circle, so there are cliffs and slopes, and a geological spectrum of colors.  Some of it looks pretty substantial, and other parts look like it could will crumble in a good rainstorm. 

There are round black rocks scattered across the landscape too--weird basalt boulders left over from a long-ago and far-away volcanic eruption.
Oh, and let's not forget the waterpockets!  Makes the walls look like Swiss cheese, and some are so big you can fall into them.