Canyons upon Canyons

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Fruita Campground
What I did
Fruit Orchard
Old Mormon Settlement

Flag of United States  , Utah
Saturday, June 2, 2012

We woke to the first cloudy day/morning in a long time and we could see some dark clouds forming over the LaSal mountains. There was a family from France that had moved into the RV Camp overnight and within 10 minutes of getting up and out of the tent, our kids and theirs were all happily playing in the tiny playground. Sadly, it was soon time to pull our kids away (this was the first play they had had with others in the last couple of weeks), have some breakfast, load up Odie and get on our way. On our way out of Moab we stopped at the Saturday Farmers Market and bought some tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and fresh baked rosemary focaccia bread. Then, we pulled into a little bakery and got chocolate chip cookies for the kids, a blueberry scone for Jess and a cinnamon roll for Tim.
Today was only about a 2 hour drive to get to Capitol Reef National Park. This was a nice change and we were in the park and had claimed our camping spot, all in time for a bit of fresh vegetables and bread for lunch. Then we cruised back down the road to the Visitor Center, the kids completed their Junior Ranger Books and earned their badges and we watched the informative video. Apparently this area is another part of the Colorado Plateau that used to be underwater but what is different here is the type of formation, known as a monocline. As I understand it, this means there is a line of uplifted and exposed cliffs that form what is known as 'the waterpocket fold' which traps water on one side of the fold in exposed bowls of rocks and forms a continuous ridge, like a reef, that makes travel across it quite difficult. It is an impressive park, but coming on the heels of Canyonlands and Arches, it seems to be another piece of the terrain puzzle through which we are currently traveling. What is quite unique about the valley through which the main park road travels, is the remnants and remains of a tiny Mormon settlement. There is the historic schoolhouse, an old house which has been restored and the old fruit orchards. Apparently the Mormon settlers planted lots and lots of apple, pear, peach and apricot trees which still bear fruit to this day. In fact, when they are ripe and in season, park visitors are allowed to pick and eat to their heart's content. Now that the area is a national park, mule deer graze the orchard grass and attached to the historic house is a bakery that sells fresh-baked fruit pies. Well, that couldn't be resisted and we had to purchase a pie to have for dessert with our dinner tonight. After touring the historical buildings and buying pie, we took a trip up the 10 mile scenic drive, stopping to admire the rock and cliff formations and taking pictures as we went. As there were thunderstorms forecast, we chose not to go up one of canyons as this area is particularly prone to flash flooding when it does rain. Another little fact, despite this and the other canyon areas being very arid, it is the water which has shaped and created all of the amazing formations as, when it does rain, it buckets down and the sheer volume of water carves away at the soft sandstone and pours all of that runoff silt into the rivers. After relaxing in the afternoon, we had tortellini and fresh spinach for dinner with fresh fruit pie for dessert. On to Bryce Canyon tomorrow!
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