Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Capitol Reef and then rain stopped play.
We set off the next day, having been fed more tomatoes, to do the scenic loop and view the bridges. Bridges are made by a river flowing under them whereas arches are made by wind and rain. Here is Sipapu bridge, Kachina bridge and Owachomo bridge being the 3 main bridges of the park. We walked down to Owachomo bridge to get a close up of the size and magnificence of the structure. We rejoined the 95 going north through white canyon and across the Colorado River, past the Henry mountains to Hanksville where we stopped for petrol at a gas station dug into the rock. This was the first gas station for over 120 miles. Having provisioned we stopped for lunch where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance gang had holed up sometime in their careers in Old Giles town. One of the Wild bunch Matt Warner, after a spell in the state penitentary even went on to become deputy sheriff. As we got closer to Capitol Reef National park the rock formations started to change. In the park there is the old community of Fruita which was moved out when it became a national park. The rock here is like a huge back bone with vertebra sticking up into the air. As we were leaving the park the clouds were starting to build and we turned south onto the 12 through the Dixie National Forest. The road climbed up to the pass at 9039 feet where the temperature dropped to 1C but the compensation was the views and the clouds building. The 12 is a 10 out of 10 road to drive and soon we got to Calf creek Recreation area camp ground which was full. We asked a RV driver if we could share his plot but he said he liked his own space so luckily we headed back across the then little ford to the entrance of the camp site and met the camp host who said we could camp in the open space. From a small stream the ford had become this by the morning. That night all hell broke loose with thunder, lightning and torrential rain, but luckily we had picked a slight knoll to camp on so stayed reasonably dry. We had met a father and son motorbiking team, Joachim & Kyösti from Denmark when we were in Moab, and we had the privilege of travelling with them over the last few days. Luckily we had a shelter to hide under to have breakfast and give some protection from the deluge. At about 1100 it stopped raining for about an hour and we packed up a very muddy wet tent and set off towards Bryce canyon National park. This was one of the last areas to be mapped in the USA as it is very remote and inhospitable. Just after leaving this view point it started raining again, the temperature fell to 1C and we headed for the Bryce canyon resort where we got a room, washed and dried out our tent and settled in waiting for the thunderstorm to pass. This area gets 10 inches of rain a year. Yesterday it rained 1.5 inches and today looks like it's going to be about the same. So we might be here for 3 days as there is no point in making a dash for it as Zion and the Grand Canyon are in the same huge weather system.