Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Visions of Utah - Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef
Goosenecks Vista, Capitol Reef National Park

Escalante and Capitol Reef
Road weariness had set in a bit after blazing through Arches, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Zion, and Bryce in less than a week. By the time we pulled into Escalante, a dusty little town nestled in Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument, all I wanted to do was pitch the tent and turn in. Then I heard about Everett Reuss.

We were camping for the night in the backyard of a tiny outfitting company/cafe/store. After we waddled back from a pizza dinner, I stopped for a minute to join the owner, some locals, and some campers around a big fire pit, while the rest of my group went to bed. The owner regaled us with stories of Everett Reuss, a  20-year old artistic contemporary of Dorthea Lange and Ansel Adams. Reuss was a prolific writer, artist and wanderer. He became the stuff local legend when he disappeared into the desert never to be found again, cutting a rising career. The town even had an annual Everett Reuss Days. When we got back from the trip, I picked up a copy of his collected works, and was impressed. Sadly, Reuss's remains were recently found in the canyon in which he'd been killed by thieves for his two mules, bringing a tragic end to his legend. 

We got a tip from the hipster outfitting guy the next morning that there were some great petroglyphs in a nearby canyon. However, after an hour of hiking through a wash, we came up empty. You had one job, outfitter job... 

Down the road, Capitol Reef National Park made up for the morning hike. The petroglyphs were amazing, and the colors and forms of the landscapes were intense even under a midday sun. We didn't have time to see a lot of the park, but the Grand Wash hike and Goosenecks vista sold me on coming back here someday.

It was bittersweet to head out at the end of the day, knowing it was the end of the trip. The sight of antelope pacing the car in a desert sunset, and a low horizon moonrise were a nice parting gift.

Desert Overlook, Escalante
Escalante landscape

Capitol Reef
Cliffs, Capitol Reef NP
Capitol Reef Cliffs, Capitol Reef National Park

Orchard, Fruita area, Capitol Reef NP
Fruita Orchard, Capitol Reef National Park

Rock Chicken, Grand Wash, Capitol Reef NP
Rock Chicken, Grand Wash, Capitol Reef National Park

Desert Tree, Capitol Reef NP
Twisted tree, Capitol Reef National Park

Origin Myth, Grand Wash, Capitol Reef National Park

Cairn and Hollow, Grand Wash, Capitol Reef National Park

Emerging Hoodoos, Capitol Reef National Park

Grand Wash,
Capitol Reef NP
Vortex, Grand Wash, Capitol Reef National Park

Petroglyphs, Capitol Reef National Park

Sunset, Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument

Moonrise over Desert Plains, Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument

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