Yesterday we journeyed the short drive to the fourth of six incredible National Parks in the Utah circuit that we are exploring on our adventure. We’re beginning our fourth of six weeks here and now have a full week to discover the magick of Capitol Reef.
Our drive to Wonderland – yes, that’s the name of our RV park down the rabbit hole of Torrey, Utah that our Magick Bus has slipped into – was beautiful with expansive vistas and even a subtle rainbow cloud portal.
And our new portal we’ll be integrating from this week is a serene setting that offers an open view of grazing land with cattle and horses surrounded by snow capped mountain tops in the distance, which we can see through our “looking glass”.
After we settled in, we headed off for our first looks at Capitol Reef.
We were instantly taken by the majesty around us. Dave said there was almost too much to process because of the grandeur and variety of intermingling raw beauty and wonder everywhere.
It is truly a stunning park and one that even if you aren’t a hiker, you can easily enjoy by taking the 20+ mile scenic drive through the park, which there is a guide on that you can get at the visitor center.
We stopped in there to read up on some of the info and get our hands on our hiking options. Then set off on our first, short intro with the two mile roundtrip Capitol Gorge hike.
The drive just to get there was incredible….about 12 + miles of amazingness on the paved road taking you from one stunning vista and formation to another. The park is well marked so you know what everything is that you are looking at.
Then once you reach the end of the paved road, a two and a half mile dirt road takes you to the end where you can pick up Capitol Gorge or Golden Throne Trails. This drive is wow!
You are taken through these canyons where the rock walls (mostly sheer walls of multi-colored Navajo sandstone) are surrounding you all around and you can feel what it would have been like on the covered wagons traveling in here back in the days of the pioneers.
This drive and the hike was a great way to get our intros with the area. So many beautiful things to see, including the settlement areas of the Mormons where you can see the beautiful apple, peach, pear, and apricot tree orchards.
Capitol Gorge takes you through the deep canyon gorge that the pioneers once used since it was the only passable “road” through the Waterpocket Fold until 1964 when Hwy 24 was built. The gorge becomes narrow, with several areas having slot-like proportions you can explore.
The Pioneer Register is located on the canyon walls here and you can see remnants of the telegraph lines jutting from the rocks above, which were used in the late mid to late 19th and early 20th centuries when Mormon pioneers passed through the gorge.
Several hundred pioneers recorded their names and dates on the canyon walls, as they passed through the Capitol Wash road. One wonders how they got their names up so high – ladder, ropes, standing atop their wagons?
Before you reach the pioneers’ recordings, you will come to the petroglyph panel, near to the start of the hike, from the people who once lived here from about 300 to 1300 CE (Common Era) – and some even earlier, which are very cool.
They are similar to the three large, red pigment figures we saw the day before in Escalante on the Calf Creek Trail.
They are thought to be from the Fremont Indians – ancestors of the modern-day Hopi, Zuni, and Paiute tribes. It is believed that these petroglyphs depict maps, journeys, clan symbols, deities, animals, and calendars.
The hike will take you past a small arch, volcanic rock, and end at a sequence of water-filled potholes, water pockets, or “tanks” as they are called.
These water tanks, ranging from very small like the size of a bathroom sink, to very large like a swimming pool, acted as natural water basins, which played a vital role in the desert ecosystem. They collected and held the vital and essential water that the animals, plants, and indigenous people relied on to survive in the desert.
Interestingly, violet light was shining down on the main water tank in some of the photos captured…is something appearing within the light, or does it indicate the sacredness of these precious water sources?
On our walk back, a beautiful sparkling natural crystal caught my eye. What a treasure!
On our drive back home, we also were greeted by a group of Mule Deer that decided to say hello to us as we drove by and then took the cross walk in front of us to get to the field on the other side. I had the opportunity to see one of them leap over the fence, which again was just beautiful to see how gracefully and easily they “fly”.
And right after we said goodbye to them, we came upon two Marmots that were incredibly cute and oh so cuddly chubby. I just wanted to go hug them. We stopped to watch and connect with them as well, as I’d never seen one.
I just love all of the wildlife, ancient essence, and raw beauty we continue to experience on this adventure.
This is truly what I love about life and some of the things I value most.
And it is what I find incredibly important to share with all of you, to bring Mother Earth’s gifts and sacredness into close relationship to you, even if just through photos.
I also like to share the rich history and ancient energy because of our collective journey we are traveling together so that you, too, can integrate what you find integral to your path as part of the whole through experiencing it.
Yesterday we decided to explore in the beautiful fresh snow that had fallen the night before.
We had another small snow storm last night and woke to our outside water and sewer pipes frozen, as well as where they connect to the RV.
We figured out hair dryers and space heaters work to thaw it….so we’re going to go out and purchase one we can keep by the pipes at night so we can stick around here and not leave early.
Everything is working now that we did so. Yay!
We keep seeing the other RVs leaving, likely for the same reason.
If you don’t have your RV winterized, which most of us don’t, then freezing temperatures aren’t a good thing and present challenges.
As long as this works, we’ll remain, but can easily leave early to our next destination if need be.
But one thing the snow does is it seems to keep people away from exploring.
Perhaps because they also aren’t prepared with clothing and equipment, or perhaps the snow, ice, and cold are foreboding.
Luckily we have all we need with us for all occasions and do love the snow…so off we went yesterday to do 5 miles of trails that included Mossy Cave and Hat Shop Trails at opposite ends of the park and we had the canyon to ourselves.
You’ll see why it’s called Hat Shop Trail, as there are balancing bounders that sit on the hoodoos that look like hats atop a person.
This trail takes you down nearly 1100 feet elevation into the canyon and you can’t see the Hats until the very end of it, but the vistas along the way are amazing.
We saw many animal tracks on it as well…rabbit, prairie dog, mule deer, maybe pronghorn….and came upon beautiful crystals in this one rock that were so magickal!
And at Mossy Cave trail we came upon little waterfalls, creeks, and the cave of moss and ice sculptures and icicles….they say these can last through June and Summer some times due to the moisture and exposure.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos, which give you ideas of what you can expect to see if you decide to explore this park.
The terrain always looks different depending on the light and you never know what little animal friends may show up!
Yesterday began our Utah National Park circuit, which will continue over the next five weeks. So excited! And if the rest of the weeks exploring are anything like yesterday, it’s going to be a fantastic adventure indeed!
We will be visiting Zion until this Easter Sunday the 27th of March, then off to Bryce through April 3rd, Escalante next through April 10th, Capitol Reef following that through April 17th, and then staying in Moab the last two weeks to visit both Canyon Lands and Arches between April 17th and April 28th.
So it will be an incredible five weeks and being that we are full-time living in an RV, taking the extra time makes it more relaxed with partial work days mixed in there and being able to explore at our leisure, rather than trying to squeeze things into a day or two.
Of all of these National Parks the only one I’ve visited is Zion, which was almost exactly two years ago when we decided to add on a day to our return from skiing Park City so that we could do a little hiking there. We did two hikes that time, entering from a different park entrance than we are staying near this time.
So I’m looking forward to continued exploration here during Spring, as last time it was Winter – beautiful to see different seasons indeed, but challenged some hikes with ice at the time.
And what an amazing first day we had, even just for a couple of hours in Zion.
After we settled in to our quaint little park that enjoys these views (the first is the view out the right side of the RV):
had lunch, did some work, I got laundry going and transplanted some plants, we set off to Zion.
And with longer days, we’ll be able to enjoy more sunlight while exploring, which is perfect. Spring also makes for a wonderful season with blossoms, great weather for hiking, and the opportunity to see little ones amidst the wildlife, which we did!
We were so excited to be greeted by such stunning beauty and so much wildlife in our first short day. We always like to touch in with each place when first arriving, as a way to anchor in the new energy and say our hellos.
And what a warm welcome we received indeed!
We saw several herds of Mule Deer, like over a hundred, with young ones prancing along the fields at the entrance to Zion.
There was also a large herd of Bison at a ranch near the entrance, which was really cool to see these amazing creatures.
And we were super excited to see two herds of Bighorn Sheep with babies at different areas…one baby was even nursing, as they climbed steadily along the edges of the mountain.
It was our first time seeing Bighorn Sheep and we have been so hoping for a while to get the chance to experience them, so this was a big treat.
And I love the energy of mountain-climbing Sheep and Goats, as it speaks to my Capricorn Rising and North Node, reflecting so much perfect symbolism for me that I am integrating.
We then decided upon Canyon Overlook Trail as our intro hike, which was perfect and offered some stunning vistas and rocks.
And on our way out we were so blessed to see a giant Condor perched on a post (I was driving at this time, so couldn’t snap a shot, plus couldn’t stop with cars behind us). But wow! It was so huge and amazing.
I’d seen them skirting the cliffs at the Grand Canyon before, and I saw one up close and personal on Lake Titicaca in Peru back in 2008 (a rescued Condor they were helping back into the wild that had a love for our Shaman Guide), but hadn’t seen one just perched in the wild.
Since there are roughly 70 condors living wild in Arizona and Utah, where Zion rests in the middle of this realm, it was quite a gift to see this one.
We will continue our Zion explorations today and tomorrow and look forward to what other gifts will reveal themselves along with the total stunning beauty that this amazing place has to offer all around.