With barely three days left on our three-week-long teardrop trailer trip, we set our GPS for Capitol Reef National Park–one of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks. Utah is simply mind-blowing when it comes to national parks. After traveling from Southern California up through Oregon, further still to Washington, and across to Wyoming, we’d visited quite a few national parks, but were ready for more.
We hadn’t even gotten there yet, but already the terrain changed. I assumed the position: hanging half out the passenger car window, snapping photos as we drove . . .
And then we arrived . . .
CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
These posts are such a challenge to complete because the views at our country’s national parks are simply spectacular, especially in Utah. It’s a challenge to snap less than a hundred shots a day. At Capitol Reef, I failed again, miserably.
I mean, seriously . . . isn’t this insanely beautiful?
I’m not a photographer–just a gal with a camera–but Utah’s national parks make me wish I knew more than I do about working a camera. During the course of this trip, I at least migrated from my crappy, old point-and-shoot 35mm camera to my partner’s intimidating, feature-rich Canon camera. Still, besides attempting to zoom in and out, all I did was pretty much point and shoot.
(ASIDE: Does anyone besides me remember the thrill of owning their first point-and-shoot? Prior to that, all we had were disposable Instamatic cameras and, once upon a time, Polaroid cameras. I’m talking ancient here!)
At the risk of boring you all, here is a comprehensive view of my favorite photos from Capitol Reef. Feel free to click on any one of them for a close-up view. I think all the shots are fascinating. I couldn’t get enough of the interesting rock and sediment layers. I zoomed in on several to capture some of the detail, but honestly, this terrain was created for discovery via hand and foot, not just with a camera lens.
All those photos were taken within a two-hour window. That’s how much you can see in a short drive through Capitol Reef. Cool, huh?
We took a break around noon and had lunch at this grassy retreat at the edge of the park . . .
and then headed back to our campground. On our way, we came across more cows (or rather, they came across us!) . . .
and views . . .
over-sized sand art . . .
unnerving, narrow roads that crept high with no shoulders on the side . . .
and offered the prospect of driving off the road into this . . .
and even saw a forest fire:
By late afternoon, we were well on our way out of the area and almost decided to change plans and camp over nite at a gem of a campground where a cold, mountain stream wiggled its way around private campsites. We had to drive over the stream . . .
We stopped, and I put my bare foot out of the car door and into about 4 inches of water!
to see all the sties. We wanted to stay but stuck with our original plans and headed back to our campsite. It had been an amazing day at Capitol Reef, but it was time to call it a day.
My absolute favorite national park was on the agenda for the next day–Bryce Canyon–and I knew I wanted to tackle a significant hike deep in the Hoodoos. More on that soon.
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To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:
Or any of our stops so far on the way . . .