~Capitol Reef National Park,
Red Canyon & Kodachrome Basin~
A while back I watched a show on Nat Geo and heard a retired National Geopgraphic photographer recommend three places to see before one dies; these were locations a bit lesser known than the BIG national parks, i.e.: Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite. The first one on his list was Capitol Reef, this National Park is located in the southern half of central Utah. I made note of the list and we went to all three on this trip! Stay tuned for numbers two and three. We arrived at Capitol Reef early, before it got too hot. The air quality here was so clean and pure, I tried to breathe in enough to saturate my lungs forever.
There is an ever changing palette across the landscape, the hues of these formations vary with the light.
"The Castle", a sandstone formation, is visible behind the visitor center.
"Capitol Dome" reminded early travelers of the US Capitol Building, inspiring the park's name.
Capitol Reef was established by Mormon pioneers in the 1880's as Fruita. Here irrigation systems were built to maintain orchards and pastures; they sustained a self-reliant agricultural lifestyle for decades. The park was established as a National Monument in 1937 and became a National Park in 1971.
Look carefully at this photo above and you will see the "Natural Bridge" in the center. We hiked approximately a mile on a steep uphill path to this destination, it was worth each and every step; the hike back was a HOT one.
The next day found us in Red Canyon, a State Park, it is located in the heart of the Dixie National Forest. We explored the trails here and we able to get up close to the HooDoos (columns, pinnacles or pillars of rock with various thicknesses that appear as Totem Poles). How they remain without crumbling or toppling is a mystery.
The air here was fragrant: sun warmed pine and sagebrush made hiking an extremely pleasant experience for the senses.
Leaving Red Canyon through a stone arch on scenic Byway 12. No one drives straight through; everyone pulls over to take a picture first; it must be a requirement!
Kodachrome Basin State Park was number two on that aforementioned list! Two down, one to go!
Chimney Rock looked like a big, giant "thumbs up" to me!
How the park came to obtain its name.
Back in the car, bidding adieu to Kodachrome Basin and a treasury of gorgeous scenery for the day.
Leaving Cedar City, UT we headed for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and points beyond in California, as promised earlier. The next installment will include all that and more! Thanks for riding along. And now, for your Snapple fun fact: The state of Alabama once financed the construction of a bridge by holding a rooster auction. I wouldn't want you to miss out on a complete education; after all, you need a reward for hanging in here through this long post!
Life is Good!