Sunday, June 1, 2008

capitol reef

you should all go there. in fact the ny times this morning recommended it as a summer destination spot - up there with alaska's glaciers. the one i want to do is going from chicago to seattle by train. anyway, here are my weekend stories:

we took a pit stop at a "panoramic view" rest stop. can you see the panorama behind me? we were very impressed with the cleanliness and friendliness of the location. i recommend it. too bad i can't say exactly where it is.
for dinner we stopped in bicknell at the sunglow family restaurant where they are famous for their pickle and pinto bean pie. apparently, back in the day, their pickle pie was so famous and delicious (it was adapted from some recipe in a magazine supposedly), that a group of bikers would come down from slc every weekend just for the pie. they wanted the recipe so they made an exchange. the bikers gave them the pinto bean recipe. now the restaurant serves both. i liked the place, despite the excessively stinky bathroom and slow service.
i of course ordered some pickle pie - mostly in honor of my brother in law who a few years ago insisted that the men in the family have "bonding" by making a bunch of gross sounding pies. i think it was because father was always a fan of raisin pie. i liked the pickle pie then and i liked it on this trip!

we found our group in the massive campgrounds by spotting mark setting up a tent. hooray! there must have been over a hundred campsites - we were in 43 and 44. that evening we attended the ranger's presentation on the stars. she advocated for not using lights excessively to limit light pollution. i thought it was funny that the little amphitheater was overly lit and there were little trail marker lights all along leading to the amphitheater. the public campgrounds were sufficiently lit!

the next morning we all split up in various directions. my group of girls were all suffering from one ailment or another (my back has hurt all week) so we took the two miler round trip hike to hickman's arch. very nice! here are a few photos documenting that adventure, unfortunately i failed to take any of the arch itself:

this is the "dome" that looks like the capitol building that gives capitol reef it's nave. i learned this great fact because we paid for one of those self guided tour brochures at the start of the hike. i liked it a lot because it created many mini-destinations.

this is a picture of "roundleaf buffaloberry" a plant that has silvery reflective leaves that help the plant retain moisture by reflecting sunlight.

we learned (by attending the 18 minute video at the visitor's center) that water, although seemingly absent from the environment, is very present and very influential on the surroundings. you can see from this photo how the rock has been shaped by puddles of water wearing away bits of "cement" (that's what the brochure called it) in the rock.

i took a little break under this rock overhang. i liked the colors.

after getting to the arch the brochure guides you out to a rim overlook. here is a picture of callie documenting our arrival.

i saw this piece of rock (?) and wondered what made the beautiful wood pattern. could it really be wood? you know, the petrified kind?

after our hike we relaxed in a picnic site to eat lunch and cool off. i lay on the ground under this tree. the place was full of cottonwoods. most of them were covered in webby sacks made by tent caterpillars. i learned that the tent caterpillars spend most of their life in the caterpillar stage eating the leaves of the cottonwood. they only live as moths for about a day. apparently most moths don't have mouths that work to eat so they are short lived, long enough to mate and lay eggs. sorry i didn't get a picture of the nasty webby cocoon looking things.

here is a picture of the caterpillar, though. they were everywhere. this one i found on the boardwalk that led to many petroglyphs made by the freemont indians - named after the freemont river which is named for some explorer named freemont.
and here is my attempt at photographing some petroglyphs. pretend you can see them.
the petroglyphs were enjoyed actually before hiking to hickman's arch. we also used our saturday morning to explore the pioneer era farm house (now gift shop) and the old one-room school house. i think they said it was in use until about 1949. it was small. apparently only about 10 families at the most ever lived in fruita, the small pioneer town which used to occupy the space that is now headquarters for the national park.
behind the school is a large rock where pioneers once carved "fruita grade school." you can sort of seeing the carving in this photo. it mostly is worn away.

this was one cool place to visit. i highly recommend taking a trip down there - only about a 3 hour drive if callie is your driver.


Killer said...

It's Hickman Bridge and the explorer was John Fremont with one 'e', so it's the Fremont River and the Fremont People. Fremont was an amazing man, you should really do some reading on him, he was so much more than "some explorer".
You could start here Wikipedia

Betty Grace said...

Oh fun. I love Capitol reef. I've never camped there though. Sounds like a fun weekend. I once spent New Years Day hiking there. it was perfect- cool, but not too cold, and we were the only people around.

ewesa said...

very nice petroglyphs. :)

plainoldsarah said...

killer you are SO right - thanks. i kept making that same mistake about the bridge when i was telling the story to friends in person. luckily they couldn't tell how i was spelling fremont. =)

betsy - i'm jealous - what a great plan!!!

and ewesa - you are too kind.