Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Our National Parks Adventure - Capitol Reef National Park

The land of the "sleeping rainbow"~~

Capitol Reef National Park lies in Utah's south central desert and is an oasis of colorful sandstone cliffs, impressive domes and a maze of twisting canyons.  The youngest in the National Park system - Capitol Reef was designated a National Park in 1971.  

Capitol Reef has long been labeled one of Utah's best kept secrets.  Those who visit this park will find it to be a place of serene beauty and remote serenity. 
The park is named for a particularly colorful section where rounded Navajo sandstone forms capitol-like domes and sheer cliffs form a barrier to travel, often referred to as a "reef".  

Among Utah's five National Parks, this park deserves special acclaim because it is less crowded, less commercial, and holds bragging rights to magnificent red rock scenery that rivals that of Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands and Zion.    Rugged beyond belief, this National Park is a long narrow strip of stunning geology.  The most distinctive feature of this 250,000 acre natural wonderland is a Waterpocket Fold; a 100 mile long "wrinkle" in the earth that creates much of the area's unique and distinctive landscape. 

 We spent a full day at Capitol Reef - doing an early morning hike to Hickman Bridge and then in the afternoon a hike on the Chimney Rock trail.  This hike was my most favorite hike of our entire National Parks adventure!  I loved it so much that I want to take you all along with me~~

You see that red sandstone pillar on the extreme right of this photo?  That is the famous rock formation known as Chimney Rock.  Now~~do you see the white sandstone mesa on the left of the photo?  That is where we are going!  It will take us just a little over 3 hours to get there~~

Go ahead and get your hiking shoes on. Be sure to bring LOTS of water - it is a hot day today!  And pack some snacks - we might get hungry!   Bring chocolate!!  I'm waiting for you~~

Are you ready?  Lets GO!!

Hiking on these trails with our dear friend Bob was the most wonderful experience.  His geology knowledge enhanced our trips and made the sights that we saw so much more meaningful. (and~~ I just plain love him!)

From my journal- "We spent yesterday hiking the trails of Capitol Reef National Park. I am amazed at how different the national parks in this area can be- even though they are really only a few miles apart.   The Chimney Rock trail is characterized by red rocks and boulders, desert like vistas, and the gnarly twisted remains of juniper trees- some of them hundreds of years old. I instantly fell in love with the whitewashed gnarly twisted trees- they have so much character~"

From my journal-  "It was totally breathtaking - the views-  everywhere I looked- almost surreal.  I'm taking picture after picture - I am scared to death that they won't even begin to capture the unbelievable beauty - the colors - I'm thinking no way can can I take a picture of this~~"

From my journal-"In the afternoon we did a 3 mile hike to Chimney Rock. This incredible hike is my favorite so far. We hiked to the top of a beautiful Mesa- through a canyon filled with red boulders, across valleys filled with beautiful green juniper trees and also scattered with the twisted remains of trees long gone. The views were amazing. We were blessed with a cloudy afternoon and a welcome wonderful breeze- it saved us as this hike had little shade. We all came back with a windburn!"

We made it!  We are at the top of the mesa and the view from here is simply amazing~~  (how are you doing? are you all still with me?)

Can you feel the wind blowing up here? 
The sky is looking kind of ominous in the distance - and we have a long way to go back down this trail - so come on - we better start back down~~

Ahh - I'm getting kind of hungry and I already ate all of my cheetos~~ can I have some of yours? Do you have any chocolate left?  I  sort of ate mine already.  I'll trade you one granola bar for some of your chocolate~~

We can just sit here and have a little picnic - (and eat the rest of your chocolate!)

I can't help it - I love to climb.  (I think I am part monkey!)

From my journal -  "As we headed back down the trail, we met up with  two young guys who were on the Hidden Canyon hike from Zion.  They remembered me (!) and stopped us to say that they watched me scale that cliff.   One of the guys said- "you are so cool- my Mom would never have done that!".  Ha ha- my adoring fan club!!  The Gardener took a picture of me and the boys.  Obviously there are people out there who remember my "moment of insanity"!!"

We did it!  We made it to the end of the trail!! (You guys were great - you kept up the whole way!!)

Hiking stats for Capitol Reef:
1. Hickman Bridge trail - 2 miles
2. Chimney Rock Loop trail - 3.5 miles
3. Drive to scenic viewpoints and short hikes -
    (Panorama Point and Goosenecks) - 1 mile hike
 Total hiking distance covered - 6.5 miles

Some scenes as we left Capitol Reef National Park - driving towards our next destination~~

Thanks for coming along with me on my most favorite hike of the trip!  Our next destination will take us to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.   

BUT~~~ before we head to the Grand Canyon - we are going to have a fall giveaway celebration.  Look for that to be coming up next - my way of saying THANK YOU to my devoted Followers.  (It's going to be good - that's all I'm saying~~)


Jenny said...

You are in your element! I'm either looking at Arizona Highways or National Geographic! Just gorgeous is all I can say. xo Jenny

PoetessWug said...

Just beautiful! And I was with you all the way too! :-) Sorry about not sharing my chocolate. ^_^

Susan McClaskey said...

I am SO impressed! Your photos are awesome and are some of the heights and dropoff!!! I'm wondering if you did any special training to get ready for this trip??? Those kind of hikes are not in my future, but I certainly enjoyed going along vicariously with you!

Tanna said...

Oh, Vicki, I would love to have been along on that hike!! But, since I wasn't, I sure enjoyed it from here! Stunning beauty! Thank you for sharing your hike.

I noticed your Mason reminds me alot of my Alex! LOL! Aren't grandbabies the greatest thing ever! Thanks again for the journey. blessings ~ tanna

Shirley said...

I am so enjoying my trip right along with you. The scenery you have shown us is awesome. I know when we flew to Sun Valley a long time ago. The scenery out the window was beautiful and yours just confirmed some that we saw. I am ready for our next trip. I can't wait to see the pictures. Have a grea day. I got to get to work. Your Missouri Friend.

Sherri said...

Vicki-what absolutely gorgeous photos!!! Alot more people should just stay in the US and travel so they can see the beautiful wonders of the US. It would help the economy too! Can't wait to see your Grand Canyon photos!! Glad you had so much fun!!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

What a fabulous day and beautiful photos. Y'all look, Vicki, you especially, like you're having the time of your life; love how you live in the moment, joyously!
Your fan club, obviously, adore you and, even better, respect you. You're a great role model for "women of a certain age" -LOL-...heck, women of *any* age!
Bob sounds like a treat to have along; always love it when someone is able to act as tour guide.
I've only been to the North Rim and loved it; waiting to see/hear about your visit to the North Rim.

SuZeQ said...

Goodness Gracious ... this park is absolutely the best ever. I am in love with the bare tree (Gardener coming up the trail and Bob going down the trail.) That tree is so "halloween" I can almost taste the candy corn. You ARE part monkey, I've come to the conclusion, without a doubt. I just love visiting your blog and hiking with you. But next time ... please bring enough chocolate that you don't eat all of mine, okay?

Mosaic Magpie said...

Are you sure you are not a professional photographer, posing as a nest knitter??? What absolutly beautiful photographs. I thought I was looking at a calendar layout.

Acorn to Oak said...

Beautiful pictures! Capitol Reef is definitely on our list of places to go. We've been hearing a lot about it lately. Utah has so much gorgeous landscape to see! Don't you just love the beautiful red rocks against the incredible blue sky. Wow! I love what those two young men said to you about how their mom would never do that. I hear that sometimes too. Not a lot of people actually get out and do this kind of stuff. I can't imagine not doing it! Can't wait to see your North Rim Grand Canyon post. I haven't been to that side of the canyon yet and would love to see what it's's on my list of places to go too. :-)

Lululiz said...

Breathtaking photographs, my goodness, what an incredible scenery. And you are as crazy and daring and amazing as ever, how can you be so close to thin air, gigantic drops??? I'd be having screaming fits, hugging the ground with every part of my body, lol. IF I ever got that high in the first place.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Magnificent! I have never heard of Capitol Reef National Park. Thank you for taking us on your trip. You really captured the beauty of Utah.

Mieke'S said...

My goodness, you're in paradise!
What a beautiful nature!
Are you there on holiday?
Whether you live there!
Am speechless!
I enjoy it on the computer!
Greetings Mieke'S

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

Once again, great photos. And yes, I do think you might be part monkey...I can't wait to see the next set of pics!

Createology said...

Mother Nature in all her glory. I have been to this part of our country and it truly is this beautiful. However, your adventure for hiking and climbing is amazing. I look at this from the vehicle. :o) Thank you for taking me along your fabulous journey...

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

You and your camera done good Vicki. Those blue skies are magnificent. And the red sandstone reminds me of our time in Petra. I would be right there with you hiking all those trails. Growing up, our family vacations always included hiking, and my mom always packed snacks, beef jerky I remember, definitely no chocolate. :) Best wishes for a wonderful weekend, Tammy

Esme said...

Vicki, these photos are gorgeous and you are shining in everyone of these photos. It looks like it was a wonderful trip. Utah is truly a beautiful state.

Dorthe said...

Dear Vicki, I would have given you tons of chocolate just to be able to sit there few minutes with you, experiencing this incredible beautiful, country you live in.
Thanks for showing, my friend.
Hugs and love,

Deb said...

I love all your pictures! I just figured out why mine are just not good like yours--all mine were taken through a bus window!! Bus tours are great for having someone else do the driving but not for going at your own pace and taking pictures without reflections in them!

Lili said...

Your photography is outstanding Vicki! Honestly I forgot to eat my chocolate as I was so mesmerized by each and every one of your photos. I kept seeing creatures in some of the rock formations and trees. It is so amazing to me that it only in recent years became a National Park. It looks to be a very sacred place and how I envy you to have walked among it's majestic beauty. I am thoroughly enjoying your National Park tour!!! This is magazine quality stuff right here. xoxo ~Lili

Sharon Lovejoy said...

YOU amaze me and I have to say that I love the photos of you and your sweetheart. It seems like you have the same sort of relationship/partnership that Jeff and I share.

I LOVE these adventure-posts. This is book material. I want to print them all out and carry them around the country to experience the same things.

YOU LOOK GREAT!! How do you get BETTER every year?

Sending love, love from the land of the PUMPKINFEST. We stayed downtown in our Comfort Found Literary Lodging. We're in the middle of all the celebrations and joys here this weekend.

Love you,


elvira pajarola said...

Carissima Vicky....THIS is ADVENTURE PURE........

...WILDNESS....NATURE.....ROCKS.....PEACE.....BEAUTY......SUN....SUN....FRIENDS......CLIMBING....WAOAW; an incredible, exciting ADVENTURE; your fabulous, charming & so beautiful taned - sporty - athletic - short-style...I love it...!!!!

I am pretty "exhausted" after the loong hiking & sooo happy there was enough chocolate for all of us....!!!!!!!! Yea....I was on top tooooooo!!!!! I felt the fresh wind, be sure!!!!!!!!

Thank you so very much, dear Vicky for presenting my Tuscany to your lovely readers; I am honoured & so happy to meet all in my loved little paradise...!!!!!!

....And now I jump right over to read all little Details of your fabulous Adventure in the
"Better living over 50", the fantastic "must read"; were your fabulous writing of your exciting Adventures is being published!!!!

un abbraccio e ciao ciao elvira

knitalatte said...

Stunning photographs of your Walkabout.
Thanks for taking us along with you on your journey thru paradise. As always, I can't wait for the next exciting episode of Travels with Vicki...

Lorraine Young Pottery said...

That was some trip! the color of the blue sky against the red rock... so stunning. I have traveled in this area and it's so vast and timeless.

Thanks for sharing your photographs.


Angie Rueb said...

Ooooooh, what gorgeous pictures...and that sky is SOOOO blue (no smog for sure, huh?!!!) Enjoyed sharing your hike....thanks!

A Scattering said...

You are looking so trim and fit! I expect to hear you're heading for the north pole next - you'll just have to find a way to take the cheetos & chocolate with you..... Fabulous photos - but the last one of you and The Gardener is just down right sweet.

Powell River Books said...

I came over to your blog after reading about it on Elaine's "A Scattering." What a beautiful hike. I could use some warm sunny weather about now. We are in our fall raining weather already. But we do get some sun in between showers. - Margy

Retired Knitter said...

Love the fact you take us along on your trips. Such beautiful land.

Susan Elliott said...

What an absolutely magical trip. I would LOVE to go. I can't believe I've never been...and you have some hot looking legs girl...Woohooo!~

Alittlesprite said...

Stunning photos. Thank you for sharing.