May 21—We chilled, May 22- Back to Capitol Reef and the Grand Wash

Saturday, May 21st we did chores and just rested.  We’ve been running at a good clip and a total down day felt great.  No blogs, no photos or sight seeing, just relaxing and a bit of RV clean up and trip planning.  We have changed our itinerary, yet again.  Kind of fun being this “footloose and fancy free.”    What has really amazed us is how comfortable we are with just the basics.  Basic clothes, basic necessities, just very easy.  Cooking is simple as well…good old comfort food.  And it’s interesting what you find in the markets–Low fat/ no fat foods are rare, few berries.  And Popeye wouldn’t be a happy camper–there’s no fresh spinach.  I looked in to horseback riding again but the weather had been tough—very chilly, rainy, and passing thunder storms.  I decided to pass—again.  One day….

The one major issue we have had been connectivity–phone and data coverage is spotty.  My cell phone roams fairly well, Jim has been without service through most of Utah.  The RV parks offer internet, but it’s often limited, slow, or intermittent.  That makes our back-up MajicJack VOI phone problematic as well.  Even our Verizon hotspot has problems.  We’re trying to do some work as we travel…a bit of a challenge.  

Sunday, May 22nd, and we’ve been on the road for 21 days!  

 We headed back to the Capitol Reef National Park.  The main road took us past more breath-taking formations.  I took some shots of the huge volcanic boulders scattered over the ground–where did they come from?  You could spend years here, trying to learn the secrets of this place.

Volcanic_rocks

We drove by over 300 feet of Chimney Rock.

Chimney_rock

Next we passed the great expanse of The Fluted Wall—you can see in the picture how it got its name.  The deep red sandstone is carved into the graceful pleats by wind, water and ice fractures.  I love the contrast of the soft gray-green and rose chinle sandstone layer above the furrows.  The chiseled formation at the very top is called The Castle.

Castle

We took the Scenic Trail (OK guys, please tell me which one of these roads isn’t scenic!) then veered off the main path on a road into the Great Wash.  This is an area etched by water run off—signs say to check weather conditions before venturing in.  We passed one rock that struck me as a sculpture of a group of Ancients stopping for prayer.

Prayer

At the back of the canyon, we found sheer pink walls, heavily stained with desert varnish, shadowing twisted sandstone spectacularly carved by the force of flash floods.

Wash_1
Wash_2

As beautiful as this area is, plant life gives a glimpse of harsh reality.  We are visiting in almost perfect conditions.  The winters chill to the bone with brutal freezing winds; the summers are scorching.  I noticed a few beautiful, dainty little plants with purple blossoms on the hillside.  On closer inspection, this was actually a tangle of thorns, with a few green leaves and bright flowers.  Well-adapted for pollination, there was no way a shrub-munching critter was going to attack this pin cushion. 

Purple_plant1
Purple_plant2

 In contrast, the ubiquitous Indian Paintbrush seemed totally defenseless.

Paintbrush

A few final shots on the way home.  The Egyptian Temple, the colors of Capitol Reef, and fins in the soft evening light.

Egyptian_temple
Capitol_reef
Fins

We’re off to Fruita tomorrow–with traces of inhabitants from 1500 years ago!

See you then

Alberta

 

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