Fruita, UT February 2017
We headed to Capitol Reef National Park after our fail to see the Crystal Geyser. Capitol Reef is an old Mormon settlement area. There is also history of Native Americans, but not much is known about them. They know that unlike other tribes they didn’t move with the seasons. They stayed here full time. They don’t know what they called themselves or why the left. A tiny river called the Freemont River cuts through this park, and so the name was given, The Freemont people.
On our travels we try to take scenic bypasses as much as possible. This is something neither of us have ever done before. Seems like in the hustle of life even if you did do a road trip it was always a rush to get to where you were going because you had limited time to get there, do your thing, and get back to work. I love that we have time to enjoy the route to our destination now. It adds so much more to the experience.
As seems to be the theme of our travels so far, this park is also formed of wonderful red rock. The canyon walls tower above you. We did a great hike in a wash that had huge canyon walls on either side. We brought Xander with us (shhh don’t tell). He loved it, except when we would make him pose for pictures. You think he would be used to it by now! We spotted a couple of big horn sheep but they were to far to get a good picture of. We found a cool rock formation that I played “where’s Waldo” in. It looks like I have no body in the picture. Xander and I played in a few other rock formations. He loves rock climbing, I think he feels like king of the mountain.
Next stop was an arch. This hike was short but really steep. We passed a couple coming down and they advised that it wasn’t worth the hike. After visiting Arches National Park we decided that we were probably jaded on our opinion of arches, and took their word for it. We turned around and moved on to see some petroglyphs. Some of these were really different. They looked like aliens carved on the rocks. For some reason this made me think of the movie Stargate.
On our way out of the park it was close to sunset so we went to sunset point. It got extremely windy. We brought Xander with us here also. He was miserable. He is to prissy to sit on the rock and the powerful wind was cold. He would cuddle up on my lap. After sitting in the freezing wind for about 15 minutes we headed back to the van. The sunset wasn’t worth the misery.
Capitol Reef was a quant park. You could almost see how the settlers lived. We got to see turkey, deer, and big horn sheep. I love seeing wildlife. It was a good decision to pass through this park. We might have to come back and spend more time here.
Somewhere in southern Utah
The drive from Grand Junction, CO to Moab, UT is wonderful. As usual we took a scenic bypass that followed the Colorado river. Fisher Towers was a random stop that we saw as we were driving. It was a good decision to stop off and check it out. The huge rock towers were awesome. It is a great rock climbing place. If you’re into that. I want to be into it but then reality sets in and I remember that I’m scared of that shit.
After we parked and opened the back to get Xander out a dog comes running around the front of the van. So we close the door and wait for unleashed dog and owner to pass. As we are waiting on them we see a lady with two dogs off leash coming up the trail to the parking lot. So we wait a little longer for this group to pass and then let our monster out- ON HIS LEASH! It constantly amazes us how many people are completely ignorant about keeping their pets on leash. I understand letting your dog off leash on the trail, we do that if there isn’t lots of traffic. The thing they don’t think about is everyone else. What if someone wasn’t crazy about dogs or afraid of them? What if (in our situation) there is another dog who is not dog friendly? At least leash your dog when you are close to the trail head or in the parking lot. Ok rant over!
On the drive to this stop James had a great idea. We stopped and he got the drone out and he flew it along the van as we drove down the river. It was a really great idea. We have done it a couple times since. It will be footage for our you tube channel. There is a beautiful property along the river that has cabins you can rent out. It would be fun to go back there when it is warmer and do some river floating. The river is really gentle in this section.
On the Fisher Towers trail I tried to make Xander pose for pictures numerous times. I managed to catch a few of him and James. They both hate being in pictures. We found a few good opportunities to get pictures of unique trees also.
We cut this hike short so that we could move on to Canyonlands. I love finding random gems like this along the way. The great part about what we are doing is that we can change our plans and any point and make any stop/side trip that we want. Whatever strikes us at the moment is what we are doing, and it is always the right choice.
Moab, UT February 2017
Canyonlands is quit majestic. James and I both feel that while the Grand Canyon is larger in size, Canyonlands wins in beauty. The colors here are so much brighter and vary so much more. We went to both sections of Canyonlands. The Needles in the south and Island in the Sky in the north. Canyonlands is located near Moab, UT.
Moab is a cool little town. It is defiantly geared towards those interested in the outdoors. There are a lot of mountain bike and four wheel trails here. We stopped at a brewery and discovered Utah’s interesting alcohol laws. Beer on draft can only be 4% abv, but you can buy the same beer in a can or bottle in regular abv and drink it at the bar. Doesn’t make sense but OK. At the bar we met a couple who were visiting as well. They were camping in a tent and said they had a six month plan to be in a van. It was great talking to them about it and being able to give some pointers. They said that it just fed the fire for them. I hope everything works out as planned for them.
Our visit of the north and south section of Canyonlands was divided by my trip to Las Vegas. I flew out of Grand Junction, Co. I have family that live very close to Grand Junction so we decided to take a quick weekend detour and go visit my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin. It was great to see them all. They are such giving people. My Uncle is always looking out to make sure I have everything I need (thanks for the full propane tank!). Xander had a blast playing with the horses and cows that lived next door. It was his first time interacting with livestock. He was pretty brave with a fence between them. He looked forward to going out in the yard every morning.
We didn’t have the best weather while visiting. It was cloudy, chilly, and very windy. It seemed like all the trails here were fairly lengthy. We didn’t do to much hiking here because James’ knee was acting up (or so he claimed). That was fine with me because of the weather. An advantage to going this time of year is that the Park is free in the off-season. We didn’t have to whip out the annual pass here. The Needles section of Canyonlands is defiantly not as popular as The Island in the Sky. I think it might be because its more out of the way to get to.
I can see the lure to this National Park. It is amazing to see what natural has carved out of the land after thousands of years. What we are left with is priceless sculptures of the earth.