Sunday, October 5, 2014

Capitol Reef National Park: Capitol Gorge

In late September we took a trip to Capitol Reef National Park, in southern Utah.  There is no ocean associated with this "reef", it's an s-shaped fold in the earth's crust in the Utah desert.  In the old days it was a formidable barrier for the Mormon settlers to cross, and even today very few roads cross it.

Our first day there, Sept. 24, we went and hiked part of Capitol Gorge, which is one of the canyons that crosses it.

You can drive into the first part of this gorge:

Once out on the hiking trail, you soon come across a spot where one of the first Mormon settlers carved the names of the first 6 families into the face of the canyon.  There were some petroglyphs here too from the earlier Anasazi settlers, but my photos of those did not turn out well.

It was a hot day, so the shade in the canyon was really nice:

This is some mud drying, the top layer separates off and curls up, we saw this in other canyons in the area too:

Some flowers along the trail:

There was a side trail up to some "tanks", natural impressions in the rock where water collects and is available for wildlife as their water source.  This photo is from there as we climbed up to the tanks:

Here are couple of the smaller tanks:

The large tank at the end of the trail:

At the edge of this tank someone had placed a simple clay figure, we had seen a similar one in 2012 (scroll down a few photos if you visit the link) at Death Valley.  Now that I have seen two it makes me wonder what they are intended to mean.

A couple more photos on the drive back out:

Next up ... Hickman Natural Bridge!

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