Thursday, June 17, 2021

Capital Reef National Park

Capital Reef became a National Monument  in 1937 and a National Park in 1971.  I'm not sure that either Pat nor I have been there before.  We only allowed 1 day  (2 nights) because it appeared that would be plenty. Well, we could have used another day at least.

The "Capital" in Capital Reef refers to the white dome formations in the park that resemble the domes on Capital Buildings.  Prospectors referred to the Waterpocket Fold, an 87 mile ridge in the earth's crust as a Reef, since it was a formidable barrier in transportation. 

Who are these people?  I have no idea but it was hilarious watching them try to set up their picture Weds.  I wonder if they ever made it into the park!

EPH Hanks Tower

Egyptian Temple

The Oyler Uranium mine was the most productive mine in Capital Reef but still not a big producer in the southwest.  At the beginning of the 1900's there were a few uranium claims,  including the Oyler  but uranium was not particularly profitable.  When Capital Reef became a Monument they stopped any claims.  The Atomic Energy Commission deemed uranium mining  important for national security and mining began in the park from 1950-1954.

There are bars on the caves to keep you out and they are supposedly foamed and sealed.

Besides the caves that were accessible  to climb up to, there were several others on the face of the mountain.

This structure was just in front of the uranium mines. 

We did not take the 3.1 mile round-trip Cassidy Arch Trail.  It looked like a steep climb.  It is a popular trail though and the parking lot was full.

Named for Butch Cassidy who supposedly had a hide-out nearby.

We chose the river trail to hike today.  It was a pretty walk.  The first half was flat and pet approved.  Krikkit isn't doing too well so we left her in the air-conditioned RV.  Saw some wildlife: a deer, marmot, and some horses (they weren't wild).  Flowers were blooming.

The Fruita campground was next to the river trail. Fruita was a settlement established in this area shortly before 1900.

Fragrant Sumac

Showy Milkweed

Indian Hemp

Fruit Grove between the trail and campground.

Pat thought they were peaches or apricots and it appears they might be apricots.

The LDS pioneers planted thousands of fruit trees around Fruita. The various orchards with nearly 2,000 trees are preserved and protected.

Field Blindweed

The primitive trail and the ascent overlooking the river begins.  No pets past here.

The black rocks are volcanic.

Didn't quite make it to the top.  It was getting pretty hot.

I'm not sure what's keeping this rock in place.

A family enjoying the river.  The young boy was playing in the water and the cute little dog took over his chair.

The Gifford Homestead was located between the river and campground in the historic Fruita area.  One room is a museum and they also sells local wares, including jelly, honey and home-made pies in the house.  I believe they use local fruit from the orchards when possible.  The pies are small and perfect for two.  We had a delicious strawberry/rhubarb.  It was mostly consumed before we left the parking lot after our hike.

The Gifford Homestead 

The Castle in the background.

Built in 1896 this building served as a one-roomed school,  Mormon church, and Community Center until 1941. 

An historic orchard next to the school/church house.

A boardwalk takes you past The Petroglyph  Panel in the Fruita district.  The Fremont Culture, named for the river canyon where they were first defined as a culture, lived here from 300 - 1300.  They lived in natural rock shelters and pit houses.

The Castle

Chimney Rock

Torrey Utah's historic LDS church, operated from 1917-1954.  Restoration  was complete in 2004.

Chak Balam was a Mexican Restaurant next to our campground.  Dinner here Weds. night.

Where are the Piepers?  Glendale, UT

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