Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Big Day

Fruita, Utah

38 16.934 N 111 14.922 W

I'll let Libby cast her own vote for the best place in this summer's odyssey. In fact, I'll wait for the trip to be over before I ask her. But speaking for myself, I vote now for the drive from Escalante to and including Capitol Reef National Park.

It winds on the basis of variety. Route 12 is a windy, twisting, up and down highway. At every turn and every hill crest, a brand new scene is revealed to you, so beautiful that you say "wow" or "Oh my goodness" or in extreme cases "holy s..." Our camera shuts itself off after two minutes of inactivity. Yesterday it almost never shut off.

It starts with views of the Escalante Grand Staircase seen from the north, it is huge. Then we visited the Hole In The Rock heritage center and learned about that fantastic expedition. Then we came to the badlands. They exhibit the limitless colors and shapes of rock and desert in a parade of variety. Finally, you come over one more hill and the landscape is no longer bare rock, but sage brush. One more hill and suddenly you are looking down at a wonderfully lush green valley with the town of Boulder, UT. Then we drove up Boulder Mountain, past bristlecone pine forests to aspen forests. The aspen leaves had just budded and they were beautiful. Still higher, one comes to amazing lush mountain meadows where deer and elk graze. At the top, 10000+ feet, Libby was having trouble breathing. Because of that, we bypassed two beautiful campgrounds.

Down the other side of Boulder Mountain, and soon we were at Capitol Reef. Once again fantastic sandstone cliffs, but this time higher, steeper, and closer than seen before. The scenes are stunning.

We are camped in the park at a lovely little oasis called Fruita. It is a green place with two rivers where Mormon settlers grew fruit orchards. It is great. This morning at dawn I heard more song birds than I can remember ever before. We will stay here two,days.



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