Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last hike at Bryce --- Teaser of Capitol Reef

Roger here.... The opening photo shows one of our first views of Capitol Reef National Park.  I can already tell that our week here will not be a disappointment.  But first, I will tell you about our last hours at Bryce.

Our last day at Bryce.  What to do?  We had talked about doing a four-mile hike with the typical aerobic, what goes down must come up theme of Bryce Canyon.  However, the weather forecast hinted at the possible chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  One of Bryce Canyon National Park's dubious boasts is that it has the second highest number of lightning strikes in the entire state of Utah.  Dianne does not like lightning.  Once you commit to going down into the canyon, considerable effort and time are involved to get out.  I would not want to be with Dianne in the canyon during a storm knowing that it would take an hour to get out.  I wouldn't like it either :-).  So we opted to make the day simpler by taking a car ride to the furthest point of the park, Rainbow Point. 

There were many pull-outs along the way that provided glimpses of the amazing features below.  So far, no hint of a storm.

This is probably not a good analogy, but in my opinion, the views at Bryce Canyon are so vivid, beautiful and intense, that they seem to scream at you.

Still no thunderstorm.... so we opted to take a short, one-mile hike at Rainbow Point.  This was an easy one.  Minimal elevation change with cool, shady vistas.

This particular trail was named after the Bristlecone Pine trees that are prevalent on the canyon edge.  These trees are the oldest living organisms on the planet, with an average age of 1500 years.  The lonely tree below that Dianne photographed is certainly not that old, but it is indeed photogenic.

Uh Oh!  Storm clouds.  Time to get back to the doggies and the motor home, even though it did not actually rain.

Sunday it was time to pack up and move on to Capitol Reef National Park...  We opted to avoid the twists and turns of Highway 12, and take the longer route to get to Torrey, Utah.  The drive was not as pretty, but much, much safer.  

Our home for this week is at the Thousand Lakes Campground.  We had heard very good things about it and have not been disappointed.  It doesn't hurt that the seventh night is free if you stay a week.  It is a quiet, unassuming place with a great ambiance.  Here is our campsite.

As an aside, our site at Ruby's Inn left a little to be desired.  The living space was very small and our very nearby parade of neighbors (though very nice) changed almost every day.  Quiet times in the lawn chairs were limited.  It was also a little salty considering the closeness of the sites --- the only game in town.  Don't misunderstand, it was not horrible, but look at the view from our campsite at Thousand Lakes.  Dianne and I are happy campers.

This morning we did an exploratory visit to Capitol Reef National Park.  We were here fourteen years ago, but did not stop the car on our whirlwind tour.  What a mistake.

(Somebody needs a haircut!  One interesting aspect at our current RV park is there is an on-site hair salon.  I promptly made an appointment for later this week!  -- D.)
We stopped at the Visitors' Center and got some great information about the adventures we will be pursuing this week.  From there we visited the nearby remnants of the Mormon town of Fruita that was nestled between canyon walls in the midst of orchards that still produce apples, pears, peaches, and cherries.  We stopped for "lunch" at a historic house and purchased the most delicious pies we have tasted in a long time.

Dianne had cherry.

I had peach.

After our sugar-loaded lunch*, we drove down the scenic paved road for a few miles to get a taste of the things we would be seeing during the coming week.  Another amazing national park in Utah.  (Dianne here:  We should have shared a pie, they were big!  We don't eat much sugar any more, and it made me so sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open on the ride back.  Luckily, Roger was driving, but he said it made him sleepy, too.  They were so good I know we'll go back, but next time we'll share!)

The Pet Pictures of the Day are, again, not of our pets.  The first shows a fearless raven who was wandering around one of the pull-offs at Bryce.  He was not the least bit concerned when Dianne approached him to take his picture.

The second shows a majestic horse that approached me from a corral in the Fruita section of Capitol Reef.  I love this horse.  He let me pet him for several minutes.  So pretty with his white star and black mane.


Tree Service Charlotte said...

The mountains definitely do sort of 'scream' at you, in the sense of their bare nature composition, how big they are, and its vast array of rock and clay across the land. The color. Ahh, the joys of hiking. Awesome photos, god bless and good luck.

-Tony Salmeron

Nancy and Bill said...

OK...we are ready for Capitol Reef!! Just love all the places you are taking us;o))

Diana said...

Glad you got to do the Bristlecone loop - I had wanted to do it but never did. And hey - that's my horse! I have a picture from the very same angle! Nice to have you following along in my footprints.