Farewell to Capitol Reef National Park

We didn’t have enough time to walk much of Capitol Reef NP, but the two hikes we did manage were quite different from our earlier hike in Goblin Valley.

We were constantly amazed what waited us around the corner on our walks.

It was only from the road, though, that we caught glimpses of the park's varied topography.

Though I wanted to get to get to Ogden on the day we left, I couldn’t resist the temptation to pull off the road and get yet another shot.

It was probably no accident that the park headquarters was built directly across from this view.

It was a fitting conclusion to a delightful trip.

More Pictures from Capitol Reef

I took so many pictures at Capitol Reef I’ve had a time narrowing down which shots to post here. The fact that it is really impossible to convey the size of these rock formations hasn't made the process any easier. Unfortunately, images that demanded to be captured don’t seem nearly as impressive flat on the screen.

That said, I’ve enjoyed reviewing the images and processing them. Most of these shots were taken as we entered the park from the East side, before we entered the heart of the park. Although we were glad to see the fall foliage, I suspect these shots might have been even more spectacular with green trees contrasting with the cliffs.

Navaho Dome is an easily recognizable landmark.

I’ll have to admit, though, that the mesas were my favorite landmark,

possibly because they remind me of all the John Wayne westerns I saw as a kid.

Really, though, it was virtually impossible to turn around without discovering startling beautiful structures

The Colors and Textures of Capitol Reef

As I process all the HDR scenics I took at Capitol Reef, the beautiful colors and the beautiful textures stand out. I don’t remember ever seeing as much orange rock as we saw in Capitol Reef.

As if the reds and oranges weren’t enough, the rock cliffs reveal layer after layer of sedimentary strata.

There is a stark beauty here that is hard to find anywhere else.

Capitol Reef’s Freemont Petroglyphs

Our first stop in Capitol Reef National Park was the Fremont Petroglyphs, a personal favorite. As long-time readers are probably aware, Loren loves petroglyphs. I’ll drive as far to see petroglyphs as I do to see unusual birds.

I’ve managed to see a lot of sites and read several books on the subject over the years, but I was surprised by some of the figures I saw in Capitol Reef.

I’ve never seen human figures with “horns” on the top of their head like these figures.

The second figure from the left in this close-up was particularly fascinating.

It almost seems like an animal head on a human body, though I have no idea what kind of animal has horns and a wolf-like head.

Some of the clearest petroglyphs, perhaps indicating they are more recent, were these Bighorn Sheep,

besmirched by Horace’s obviously recent graffiti.

The worst part of seeing the petroglyphs defaced like this is that you can never be sure what is original and what is more recent.

Did an ancient Fremont artist draw the strange shape to the right of the Bighorn Sheep or was it created recently by someone who felt a sick need for attention?