Capitol Reef

Route 12 and 24

 

We woke up early, had breakfast and a last walk around the farm, packed the car and headed out towards Moab. We took the amazing route 12, and route 24 across the Escalante Grand Staircase and the Capital Reef National Park. Were we amazed? Absolutely! The scenery was breathtaking, forever changing, and unforgettable.

We passed tall white escarpments which reminded us of the white cliffs of Dover and layered bluffs that reminded us of the 25-layer cake we used to buy in Singapore. It’s funny how much of the landscape reminded us of food on this trip! There were more red rocks, abutting the road which twisted and turned as we drove higher and higher. The views were spectacular, and we stopped often to just sit and take it all in. There was a lone cyclist who we passed often. We would pass him, and further up the road when we stopped to admire the view, he would swoosh by, only to be passed by us again and then catch up with us at the next stop off point. We eventually started waving at each encounter and being cyclists ourselves could sense the thrill and the aching muscles he was experiencing. At one point we stopped and looked over the landscape, a gorge directly beneath us, hundreds of feet deep and heard the hikers down there, who had braved the descent to find hidden waterfalls, which we could also hear in the distance.

The landscape changed suddenly to green pastures, wooded hillsides and we climbed even higher. We could have been in Austria! There were cows grazing in the pastures and in the woods, very close to the road at times, and we had to slow down to cross the cattle grids. We descended into yet another valley and were greeted with a wide colorful bluff, ranging from soft jade greens, to deep heather hues. We were crossing Capital Reef National Park. The rock formations changed again, and we stopped for lunch at an outlook with deep orange and red rocks and a dark, storm laden sky in the background. Marcel found his ‘Simba’ rock and we looked across to the horizon and wondered in awe at how the first explorers in their wooden wheeled carts, managed to arrive and settle here.

After our lunch, and avoiding the oncoming storm we headed out, this time the scenery changing to silver grey, and pale lilac sandy bluffs. It almost seemed like we were in a cement quarry, but it was all natural and very beautiful. The road cut through grey rocks and the road, sky and land was almost indiscernible, as they blended into each other, only a yellowish, sulphuric tinge defined the tops of the hills, separating land from sky. Eventually, the hills flattened out and we stopped to take a picture of this ‘out of this world’ landscape; it really did feel like we were on the moon. The silvery, sandy soil held nothing, and it stretched out around us, only to be confronted by a large, monolithic outcropping which looked like something out of a science fiction movie. We truly felt like we had traveled the galaxy that day, from the fiery, Martian red rocks of Bryce and Capital Reef, to the silver, grey expanse of this Moonscape, with a little stop off in the mountains of Austria! Amazing!

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