We didn't really plan to visit the Capital Reef park. But we had a choice of two routes to get past Lake Powell to Monument Valley in Arizona. We had already traveled most of route 1 on our way from Zion to Bryce, so we decided to drive the longer route 2 over the top of Lake Powell in order to see some different scenery on the way. Our half way point on this several hundred mile drive happened to be Capital Reef National Park. We only spent half a day there before heading on towards Monument Valley in Arizona but it was well worth the visit.
This quiet little national park is full of fruit orchards. In the summer visitors can eat the fruit for free, but we were there at the wrong time of year for that. The drive into the park took us past many huge rock formations with names such as 'the fluted wall', or 'the castle'. We stopped at the visitors cente to pick up the junior ranger programs which the kids completed on the 20 mile scenic drive. They had to interview a ranger as part of the project and came up with some good questions for him. Little Barney asked 'what happens to a lizard after it dies?' and learnt that it is a waste to bury animals as they serve as food for other animals. The scenic drive was well worth doing, and we stopped for a picnic in one of the orchards on the way back.
Before heading off on the rest of our jounrey we stopped to view the petroglyphs. The kids and I were quite excited to see rock art that had been left by Indians who had passed through the area over a thousand years ago. The art is much bigger than it appears. These etchings are lifesife, but still we all thought they looked like kiddies drawings. Apparently they were made as part of a ceremony to entice the big horn sheep back into the area.
After our brief half day visit to this park we carried on with our journey and drove hundreds of miles through Utahs wilderness. I have never seen anywhere so desolate. For about 200 miles we did not pass one single house or business. We almost ran out of gas too! Before discovering a town with a gas station and RV park where we spent the night, totally shattered.