Saturday, August 04, 2007

Into Utah

(This should have been posted in early August. Somehow, it got lost in cyberspace)

Utah is possibly our favorite state to visit and we will be here for two months. The drive west along I-70 is flat and boring for a while, but the farther west and south you go, the more interesting and beautiful it becomes. The hills grow in size and the rock formations progress from gray to pink to red. By the time we reached Capitol Reef National Park, all of these colors are present—sometimes in different views and sometimes all in one canyon.

We have had two great hikes. The first was over four miles on the Old Wagon Road trail, which has an altitude gain of 1,580 feet. It is a steady uphill climb for at least two miles, and we felt it. But the country is so spectacular, we were glad to be there. The contrast of dark green pine and juniper trees against the red rocks and soil is beautiful. The second hike was 3 ½ miles through Cohab Canyon to overlook the old settlement of Fruita. Capital Reef preserves both the natural beauty of the area and the historic Mormon Settlement of Fruita. Those farmers planted extensive orchards, which are still growing. It is peach harvest time and visitors are allowed to pick their own fruit. There are over 3,000 fruit trees in the park, many 80 to 100 years old. It was fun to pick our own afternoon snack.

Many of the tourists here are from countries around the world. The beauty of our National Parks, especially the major parks in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, are major destinations for these tourists. Many of them rent RVs from Cruise America or RoadBearRV to see these far-flung parks. It was fun to see German and French speaking visitors picking peaches at the same time we were in the orchard.

The Fremont Indians, who traveled through this area between AD 700 and 1250, left petroglyphs on the rock walls of the park. We were able to get close enough to view some of them on a boardwalk built next to the cliff.

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