We left this morning at 8:00 and 77 degrees and headed north, then west, toward Capital Reef National Park. We followed the railroad tracks out of Moab along one of the most beautiful roads I have ever seen. OMG. Anyone considering a road trip should seriously consider Moab Utah, Arches NP and Canyonlands NP. I was just blown away. Interestingly, we ran into several older couples like us who were taking the same route as we are, through all five parks in southern Utah. You get to experience all five in five days. What a deal.
The first part of the drive west took us through desert so parched it would not even sustain dry yellow grass or sage brush. It was stark. The landscape was tan, tan and more tan, the same color as beach sand and the ground flowed in ripples and dunes, just like on a beach, but a lot bigger. But the dunes were not sand. Well, perhaps they were at one time, thousands of years ago. They are now what they call petrified dunes. They look like sand but are as hard as rock. There is something calming in the way they seem to flow, so smoothly over the ground. They have a beauty all their own.
We saw many mesas projecting out of plateaus, like fingers, all lined up, side-by-side in various colors, striations of pink, tan, purple, and brown. And they had the usual evergreen bushes growing out of them as if they were grounded in fertile soil, but anchored only in solid rock. Some of them looked like cocoa powder sprinkled on top of chocolate ice cream.
Further up the road the ground became more forgiving and gave forth to sage and Douglas Fir and yellow grass, and occasionally we came upon an oasis. You can see them from a distance, green trees and grass, fields of corn and houses, and you know right away, there is a river that runs through it, the Green River to be exact. And it gives life to the arid desert like a fresh drink of water to a thirsty man. The rivers are the life blood to towns in the desert.
Eventually we entered Capitol Reef Park. Since there is a main road running through it, there is no park fee, no park ranger guarding the gates. You just drive right on in and out the other side. And inside, the rock formations were a sight to see. I will let the photos speak for me. There are not a lot of roads to drive, but there are a lot of places to stop and view the formations, and they have a really nice picnic area in the center of the park where everyone in the park decided to stop for a picnic lunch. Beamer enjoyed the plush green grassy areas.
After touring the entire park, where there are paved roadways, (we chose to bypass the dirt roads) we exited on the other side and spent some time exploring the area around Torrey. There is a state park just south of Torrey and at 9600 ft. the views of the valley below take in the distant mountains and the topography that is Capitol Reef.
When we arrived at our hotel, we were surprised to discover that Beamer was not welcome. We book our hotels using the AAA Doggie Book which identifies all of the hotels that take dogs and the terms of stay. And the book said this hotel welcomed dogs. But when we arrived, they turned us away. However, the owners of this hotel also own another local hotel, not one that anyone would recognize, and they sent us to there. They told us they were giving us the best room in the place and honoring our contract price. One has to wonder how often this occurs and whether that price tag was an honest price for this hotel. It is a bit seedy and not exactly what we planned for, but the view is to die for. We are looking at red rock formation on two sides…yes it is a corner room with windows on 2 sides. Right now I am waiting for the sun to set over the red rock. If I get a good photo, I will post it here.
Tomorrow we head to Bryce Canyon National Park.