Capitol Reef National Park, February 27-28

Capitol Reef National Park, February 27-28

We got into the town of  Torrey, UT in the evening, but were so close to Capital Reef, we just wanted to take a sneak peak. We drove into the park directly through the historic town of Fruita. This little farming town that had been originally settled by Mormons, was bought out by the National Park Service in pieces throughout the 1900’s. Fruita had never been a large settlement.  The one room school house that doubled as a dance hall and wedding venue was scarcely larger than a walk-in closet!

Still, it was easy to see why the settlers had stayed and hard to see why they left. The entrance to Capital Reef is flanked by red-cliff walls and a sweet lush meadow in the valley, with the picturesque Fremont River, complete with bubbling rapids, running right through the center. Mule deer graze without a care. We caught a stunning sunset and then braved the chilly night air to watch the sky turn to velvet. The full moon made a spectacular guest appearance. However, our grumbling stomachs took over and we found a BBQ/pizza establishment with red ale on tap that was still open in the off season. The warm atmosphere contrasted with a fun but surly waitress to cap off the night spectacularly. 

Our first hike started out on a canyon wash that had been at one time, the only road into town. Very old (and very neat) graffiti had been carved into the cliff walls by bored teenagers near the turn of the century. These carvings appeared at great heights, making us wonder about the degree of erosion and how different the wash looked today as opposed to hundreds of years ago. The scenery remained stunning, and we questioned if we could just take in any more natural beauty. We finished up the hike grateful for the experience and ready to see what the surly waitress had on tap. We got to meet and chat with a few fellow travelers in the hotel hot-tub (this has become our main method of meeting new people)!

We finished the weekend with a hike to see our first true arch of the American Southwest and were awed by the wonder. We were sad to leave Capital Reef, but excited to head into the legendary Moab and Arches National Park. Our list of adventures and favorite places continued to get longer…just not quite as as wide as the smiles on our faces.


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