August 28th, 29th & 30th
As I drive out of Richfield in the morning I stop to take a picture of this imposing mountain in the morning light:
It was much more beautiful yesterday, in the evening light, but I didn’t have my camera with me when I was out and about. Live and learn.
We go east over the mountains and are no longer in the Great Basin. Here is another green farming valley near the town of Loa…
…when suddenly, near the town of Torrey, this red rock formation appears:
And closer up:
We’re now in the Fremont River Canyon:
We arrive from the west, but the next day I take a drive from east to west…
…the canyon widens and we find fruit orchards planted by the Mormon pioneers.
More orchards and Mormon irrigation ingenuity:
We can pick and eat as much fruit as we want, but if we take any away we’re asked to pay a modest price. Peaches are in season so I get about 5 pounds.
Up and down the canyon there is no lack of impressive rock formations…
From my campsite the rock formations are also striking:
Near the orchards there are these petroglyphs carved by the Fremont People who once inhabited this canyon:
But you can see much better photos of these petroglyphs here. More on the Fremont People in a later post.
Later in the day I take a long hike up this canyon known as the Grand Wash. Signs indicate that flash flood risk is at a very low level today:
There has nevertheless been some rain recently and some strange specimen has left a print in the mud:
In the late afternoon I take another hike, further up the canyon, and we get a good view of what was once the Mormon pioneer settlement called Fruita:
The last private residents of Fruita left the area in 1968. Today only national park employees live here.
The last remaining house and barn…
…the house is now a museum and store where they sell homemade pastries, jams, jellies and salsas.
Back at my campsite, after a hard day of tourism, I treat myself to a nice cold local Utah beer:
Take a look at the caption on the six-pack carrier:
And I kid you not, in the Richfield supermarket where I bought it, there was a little sign that said Take some home to the wives. This beer, and others, are made by Wasatch Breweries located in Park City (of Sundance fame), Utah. You can read more about Wasatch Breweries here. Their beer is only 4%, but that’s better than the 3.2% beers you find in most Utah grocery stores. And at least the name shows a sense of humor about polygamy. Yet, as we’ll see in an upcoming post, in Utah today this subject is no laughing matter.
One morning in camp, Olsen gets down to work. I’m currently working on: Sewage sludge application in a forest plantation: effects on trace metal transfer in soil-plant-snail continuum.
But one of the locals does not appreciate my efforts:
Generally the local residents here are unimpressed with our presence:
The little I have shown you here does not do justice to Capitol Reef National Park. The park gets its name from a geographical formation that the early pioneers here called a “reef”. It is some 95 miles long and extends far to the south of the campgrounds near Fruita. I drove down the scenic canyon drive, but took no pictures.