Saturday, November 5, 2011

Days 132 - 133: More Utah! Bryce, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands

After Zion, we headed toward Bryce Canyon but had to turn around due to weather and ended up spending the night at the historic "Smith Hotel B&B" (see Zion blog). 
The next morning, after breakfast, we started out again and the day was chilly but clear and beautiful.
We haven't had to worry about weather, calendars, days of the week, etc. in a while but the weather is begining to be a factor.  We're also closing in on the holidays so we've had to start paying attention to this stuff.  While trying to get back in the habit of watching the calendar, we overcompensated a bit and thought we had less time than we really did.  So we plowed thru three parks in two days, starting with Bryce Canyon.  Oops

Angie sets the pace in the visitor's center at Bryce.

Bryce has hoodoos... lots of them!

That totally should have fallen by now!

After spending the morning at Bryce, we headed towards Capitol Reef National Park.
Along the way, we came across a campground with about 10 Airstreams that could be rented by the night.  All of them had updated interiors inspired by old-timey movie stars and were really cool.

 Not only that, but the owner had a collection of old convertibles arranged in front of a drive-in movie screen for guests to sit in and watch movies!

More driving!  Poor LeTigre, we've lost track of all the mountain passes she's taken us over.  We got to this 9000+ summit and passed thru an aspen forest.  Aspen are a bit creepy once their foliage falls off.  Notice they're all the same height and width, weird.

Near dusk we arrived at Capitol Reef.

Capitol Reef is a huge warp in the earth's crust that was formed about 65 million years ago. 

There's a very nice campground at "Fruita," which was a farming community within the park's boundary founded by Mormons in the 1880's.

However, it was coooold.
Kipper borrowed a vest from Angie for the night.
There's no reason a dog can't be warm and fashionable too!

Prehistoric petroglyphs and other evidence indicate that man has lived in the area for thousands of years.

Tell me that doesn't look like a spaceman...

If that's not strange enough, how about a convenience store carved out of a mountain?

Better yet, houseboats dry docked in the desert?

Anyway, on to Canyonlands, our next National Park.

Huge ancient crater.  Several theories try to explain it's formation.
A.  Collapsed salt dome (geologists' theory)
B.  Meteor strike (geologists' theory)
C.  Alien spacecraft crash site (our theory)

Canyonlands National Park, and a lot of the state of Utah, is layer upon layer of ancient sea bed.  The entire area was flooded with salt water, which eventually evaporated, leaving behind salts and minerals.  This process happened 26 times!  And then the plateau was pushed up 10,000 feet, after which millions of years of erosion formed the canyons.

We'll wrap this up with an arch (squint and you can see the La Sal mountains in the distance, visible thru the arch), because our next destination is Moab, Utah and Arches National Park!

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