Sunday, September 7, 2014
Capitol Reef National Park
Boy....Isaac is a hard act to follow. After the excitement had subsided and after Jason and I had cleaned fire extinguisher dust from every nook and cranny, we set out at around noon to explore Capitol Reef NP. We first headed up Grand Wash where we went on a hike through a dried riverbed. Aaron was happy as a clam to be back in the desert. After suffering months of desert withdrawal, he steadily picked up dried sand clumps and hurled them against anything solid, watching them explode, for the entire hike. No pauses. We took the scenic loop to the end, enjoyed the view and people-watched a group of German Harley riders. Side note: roughly 70% of the people we saw were Germans the other 30% were an equal mix of Belgian, French and American. The national parks must have a killer advertising campaign going on in Europe, but America seems to have forgotten about them. Next we headed back down to the visitor center where we took the Sulphur Springs hike backwards to the first waterfall. We climbed the short falls and played in Princess Louisa-esque pools carved into the sandstone and watched braver people jump off the cliff into a pool of murky water. Isaac decided he would jump off the cliff instead of down-climb and I reluctantly followed. The cliff was a lot higher than anticipated and, after some debate (and lots of me saying "I'm scared!"), we retreated and opted for the more familiar experience of down-climbing the cliff. Next stop was the Gifford house, conveniently located next the campground, where we enjoyed homemade ice cream. We ended the day with a walk through the apple orchard in the campground where we ate apples straight from the tree.
Our second day brought no catastrophes and our bad luck streak seemed to have come to an end. After snagging a sweet site next to the apple orchard and river, we walked across the road and up the Kohab Canyon trail. We were super excited to find awesome slot canyons with mouth-watering climbing potential. We salivated and tried our hardest not to climb on the perfect jugs above us. We partially succeeded. We then hiked up to the top of the rim and enjoyed the view of the lush Fruita Valley contrasting against the red desert sandstone cliffs. In the afternoon we took a dip in the nearby Fremont River and lounged about in our shady campsite reading.
Our last day in Capitol Reef we spent hiking in Capitol Gorge. The boys found an awesome sandy area to launch into to their hearts' delight. Afterwards we climbed up to water tanks where we saw the ittiest-bittiest frogs we have ever seen. They were so cute. We then drove to see the petroglyphs and to see if there were any peaches left in the peach orchard. Alas, it was picked clean but we did find an open apple orchard so we picked a couple of bags of apples and deposited money according to the honor system. With the combination of desert awesomeness and fruit orchards, Capitol Reef is shaping up to be one of our favorite national parks.
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