Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park Travel Blog

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Capital Reef:


Today as we prepared to leave Bryce, our nice camping neighbors from Utah came over to chat and we obtained an excellent ice cream suggestion for Escalante, a town along our route.  The Church’s RV book, as usual, was the only one consulted and read aloud prior to striking out.  They always offer the best condensed info and I try to do everything they suggest and take the route they tell me to take- I find them spot on every time! 


So we headed on the Scenic Byway out of Bryce, over the mountains on a road called “the hogback” where the view is on both sides of the narrow road, with no guardrails at over 8000 feet.  We enjoyed the pulloffs and took many pictures.  The rock formations were just incredible.  Ciao Baby did just fine until we climbed to about 9400 feet on the road around Boulder, when we had to run the heat to keep the engine temperature low on the very steep (sometimes 1st gear!) climbs.  Cows were in the road at times, there were spruce and aspen trees at that altitude, meadow grass, and just dazzling beauty.  Jazy was just mesmerized by the entire scene and the only thing that drug her out was the promise of more in Colorado and Alaska.


Along the route, we stopped in the afternoon at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park (as the Church’s book suggested) and paid our $6 per carload to hike a 1 mile trail through a tremendous outcropping of petrified wood.  It was truly amazing!  The walk was steep and while the air temperature hadn’t required a/c in the RV, it was really hot up there!  But we got to touch and see fascinating logs of petrified wood up close and in person.  We were astounded by the rainbow of colors and one specimen still had what appeared to be bark on the outside and you could easily dicern the rings of the tree.  Very cool! 


But we were very hot and from the top of the hike (which felt like 3 miles really) we’d admired the cool blue lake below.  All of us (but one who’d earned a “homework pass” for “blatant disrespect or not listening to Mommy”) got to don swimsuits and jump into the icy water.  They’d had a “blizzard” (they said) a few weeks ago and I think the water was 33 degrees.  Jazy, of course, brave pioneer that she is, jumped off the boat dock, but the other two of us worked our way up to our neck- I ran for the RV.  Very invigorating.


Then we did stop for the “best milkshakes in the world” at Frosty’s in Escalante, and we agreed with the title.


We passed 3 small federal campgrounds on the way to Capital Reef, but having been told that it was really nice here, decided to press on.  I wasn’t worried about the 6pm arrival because I thought it was Thursday.  When we arrived at the Visitor’s Center as it was closing, she mentioned that the campground only had one spot left!  So we quickly rode the mile down the road, past the pioneer buildings that we want to explore tomorrow, and snagged #48!  Then Jazy reminded me that it was indeed the weekend!  I’m glad I didn’t realize that (now that everything worked out well) or I would have blown by some fun in order to get here earlier.  Whew.


Jazy made Lia’s birthday cake and then, after we celebrated and ate some cake after dinner, they trotted half the cake off to give to some new campground friends.  We all went down to the river located in our gorgeous, shady campground where one of the trees looks 500 years old, and Charles and Lia got wet in the icy river.  Then we fed some grass to the nearby beautiful and deliciously horsey-smelling horses, admired a historic cottage home, visited with our camping neighbors (also from Utah) and returned to the RV. 


We are really enjoying the bikes.  Jazy can help me load and unload, while Charles and Lia get the helmets, move the bikes around, take off the cross-bars, etc.  It just takes a few minutes and we love the strong, locking Yakima bike rack.  We’ve not had any trouble to date with the bikes, although we are a bit longer with 4 on the rack on the back.  I’m really glad we brought the bikes on this portion of our trip.


It is just beautiful here in Capital Reef NP with red cliffs surrounding the park- the rock formations on the way in are breathtaking.  We’ll see more as we drive out tomorrow to Moab, but I do hope we can visit the orchards here (apparently a May frost killed the apricots, but we may find some and it’s free to eat as much as you want while you’re here) and the historic homes, etc.  They have quite a few activities including Ranger programs that would be fun too.  Then we’ll head to Moab for a few nights to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.


I’m sure I’ve been in Utah before, but I don’t remember being so astounded by the great beauty of the red cliffs and mountains, the amazing rock formations, high elevations with cool summers, the clear rivers, and the friendly, smiling people.  No wonder it is one of the most popular states in which to RV! 


It is also refreshing to see the many campers, particularly in tents, enjoying this great beauty of nature.  Not many big rigs are in the National Park ��"I think the sites are not big enough and they’re not really self-sufficient for dry camping, I guess.  So I’m grateful that for our style of travel, we didn’t buy a big rig.  It just really makes me feel good to see our National Parks so loved and enjoyed by so many people.  This is one gorgeous country!


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Capitol Reef National Park
photo by: mnico78