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?

Goblin Valley State Park

Since Capitol Reef was our real destination and Goblin Valley was a spur-of-the-moment decision, we couldn’t spend nearly the amount of time there it really deserved though I’m sure we’ll return and explore the two-thirds of the park we didn’t have time to explore.

I took a lot of pictures while I was there. It’s hard not to let you imagination run free and see “goblins” that are as much a reflection of your own imagination as they are results of erosion.

It’s a lot like cloud-watching, though if there were as many clouds as there were goblins you’d have rain.

We had some great views.

It would have taken considerably more planning than we did to find our way through the maze of outcroppings. We kept running into dead ends.

As it was, we got our daily allowance of exercise just exploring the structures near the visitors’ center.

Still, I’m glad we ignored our “plans” and took this side trip.

Goblin Valley State Park

Leslie wanted to visit Capitol Reef National Park on our way home and I readily agreed because it is one of the parks in Utah that I have never seen before. On our way there I saw a sign giving the mileage to Goblin Valley State Park, a park that I had heard about two years before but didn’t have time to visit that trip. Since it was only 21 miles off our route, I thought it would be a good idea to stop. I’m glad I did; the park was nearly amazing as it had been described.

There were even some amazing sights on the 21 mile route. I think this must have been the Goblin’s Castle


Just before the park entrance we saw some Goblin scouts.

From the parking lot the Valley of the Goblins reminded us of the Terra Cotta warriors found in Emperor Qin's Tomb

I am glad we visited the site in the daylight because I imagine the weird shapes could become terrifying monsters in the dark.

Canyonlands’ Island in the Sky

Canyonlands NP, at least the Island in the Sky portion of the park, is just up the road from Arches NP. I’ve been there before, but since Leslie hadn’t been we decided to spend an afternoon there before heading out to Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef NP.

Island in the Sky provides completely different views than Arches. Instead of looking up at remarkable rock structures, you stand on top of them or look down at them. In that sense, it reminds me of the North Side of Grand Canyon.

While there’s much that’s impressive, I’ve always been drawn by the road that drops down into the canyon.

Leslie made it pretty clear that if I ever do drive it that I’ll have to drive it by myself.

Still, it’s hard not to be drawn to a road that seems to lead to nowhere, or, perhaps, into a distant past.

For some, it’s apparently enough just to stand

on the edge without descending into the belly of the beast.

It’s hard to believe that ancient natives could survive here

though petroglyphs testify otherwise.

A Last Glance at Arches NP

Considering how spectacular Arches National Park is, it’s clear we’ve never spent the time there that it really deserves, even though we saw more on this trip that we’ve ever seen before. For instance, I don’t think we had ever seen Wolfe Ranch; I’m sure I would have remembered if I’d been there before. This is actually the second house on the ranch; this was the first one. Apparently it isn’t only the trees that persevered. If we had had more time, we would probably have walked to Delicate Arch, one of the most photographed arches in the Park. Instead, we drove up the road to a scenic turnout and used my 100-400mm lens to get this shot of Delicate Arch. On our way out we stopped and took a short hike to this rock formation where we were surprised to by long, narrow passages through the rocks. The most popular activity in the park, at least when we were there, was obviously biking, but I suspect the activities are only limited by your imagination, though I would never, ever dream of doing this kind of adventure.

Lost and Found

As I was writing yesterday’s blog entry it occurred to me that I was missing a couple of shots I had taken at Arches NP. I was doubly convinced that I must have taken them when I saw Leslie’s shot of me walking toward the arch with my camera slung over my shoulder. However, being convinced didn’t help me find any such shots. After an extensive search, I concluded I must have somehow deleted them while transferring them from the camera to my laptop to my desktop computer.

Although I wouldn’t be posting all these shots on the web without modern cameras, computers and programs, I find the constant changes that are part and parcel of upgraded technology confusing and irritating. Before I left, I upgraded all the software on my laptop, and several programs were changed.

In the past I've stored photos from a trip on the desktop of my laptop because they’re easier to find there at the end of the trip. Apparently the new Mac OS changed the settings on my computer and tried to load all the photos stored on the desktop to iCloud and immediately ran out of room and sent warnings to my iPhone that I had exceeded my limit and they would delete my photos in the next 30 days. Not wanting them deleted and not knowing how many photos hadn’t been uploaded, I downloaded my photos directly to the hard drive. Apparently in the process I duplicated some of them.

It didn’t help that Adobe decided to change Lightroom to Lightroom Classic and introduce a new Lightroom CC that would also store all your photos in the Cloud (and charge you another 10 dollars a month to do so.) Small wonder that ended up with some photos in folders and others left out. With over 2,000 photos the last thing I needed was duplicates.

I resolved that I would spend the morning deleting duplicates and consolidating folders. That’s a lot easier said than done when you’re dealing with several thousand files, and their accompanying sidecar files generated by Lightroom and Photoshop. After several hours, though, I found the lost files that hadn’t been accidentally deleted after all.

I think they’re better than the ones I posted yesterday,

particularly this one with the man standing inside the arch, revealing just how immense the arch is.

Arches National Park

We headed for Arches National Park after our last weekend in Broomfield and arrived around 4 P.M, too late to start a tour of the park with the ongoing construction. Luckily, the decision to look for a campground early resulted in a prime spot not too far from the park entrance.

Nothing like waking up in a gorgeous canyon with the Colorado River running next to your camp site.

Though it’s known for it’s beautiful arches, there’s a lot more to the Arches NP than

arches. In fact, one of the first stops features this breath-taking canyon that brings back memories of the John Wayne movies of my childhood.

As attractive as the sweeping vistas are, my camera was also drawn to trees that could easily have been created by a bonsai master.

Leslie commented that the strangely beautiful rocks made her wish that she had taken courses in geology in college.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a geologist to appreciate their beauty.

We were nearly half way through the park before we saw our first arch. It was a bit of a walk, but well worth effort,

especially since the same walk led to a second, if somewhat smaller, arch.