Monday, June 26, 2017

Capitol Reef Love

We have a semi-tradition (we haven't done it every year) of taking off right after the dance festival for a quick getaway with just our family. This year Field Day was on Thursday, so we left after that and went to Capitol Reef National Park. Are you wondering why you haven't heard of Capitol Reef National Park? It's north of Zion National Park and, to me, just as stunning. Also, they have working orchards at Capitol Reef. And not as many people.

I secured us a little house in Bicknell, Utah, through airbnb 20 minutes away from the entrance of the park. It was a cute little grandma-type house and the TV was very old-school. The kids watched "Little House on the Prairie" while Brian and I made breakfast Friday morning. (Nellie was inviting everyone over for a party and I predicted that she was up to no good. Colin said, "But she's having a party!" Ha! Never trust Nellie Ohlsen, kids.)

After a huge and delicious breakfast, I packed up snacks and lunch for all of us and we headed to the park. First stop, get Junior Ranger booklets, then to Grand Wash for a hike.
The kids are experienced junior rangers - notice the water in their pockets and the binoculars around their necks.
Bridget found this guy and we studied him for a few seconds.
Emil loves to show off his climbing skills when we go on hikes. Years off my life, but it is fun to see him push himself. 
The kids found a caterpillar on the bridge where we were looking at petroglyphs. Nature!

We ate lunch on a picnic table outside the Ripple Rock cabin where we would listen to a ranger talk about...erosion? No, it was Junior Geologist. 
When there are no obstacles, they will create the obstacles. The Ripple Rock cabin was surrounded by beautiful trees and a creek running behind it. The Fremont Indians created an intricate irrigation system, then they disappeared (aliens?). When the Mormon settlers arrived, everything was in place to irrigate their farms and orchards. 
Speaking of farmers, this is Gifford House, down the road from Ripple Rock.

Brian and I decided to drive back in to Bicknell and go to the pizza place for dinner, then go back to the park for a sunset hike. The pizza place (oh, man! I forgot the name of it) was a great little family-run restaurant with high school paraphernalia all over the walls. The Mom and Pop running the place even had photos of their missionary right next to the cash register. The Pop brought the kids free cookies when the pizza was almost gone. We loved it. :) Back to the park!

Before we went for a hike, we drove the Scenic Drive until we felt like turning around. One of my favorite sights was the orchards. 
Emil was more interested in the tractor.
Colin likes tractors and adventure too. Sometimes I forget because Emil is OBSESSED with vehicles.

We made our way back to the Fremont Hike that started across the street from the Ripple Rock cabin.
We're so doing a sunset hike every time we visit a national park from now on. 
We had this hike all to ourselves. It was the perfect temperature, the perfect light, the perfect company. And it wasn't super easy. 
The view was pretty amazing.

We came back to the house and played Farkle and went to bed. The next morning we went back to Capitol Reef for a "moderate" hike to Hickman Bridge.
One of the rangers told us that there are more arches in Capitol Reef than there are at Arches National Park. Crazy! I mean, shhhh - I liked that this park was less crowded and there were no buses or disgusting outhouses at the beginning of every trail. That's right - not so much, Zion National Park.
Bridget, as always, is the ideal hiking buddy. No complaining, no craziness, no telling us halfway into a hike that she needs to go to the bathroom.
There was a great cave-ish place on the way to Hickman Bridge.

The kids finished up their booklets (we stopped at one of the orchards for Bridget to see what kind of trees they are and she and Colin got very muddy) and we went back to Ripple Rock to take the oath and get their badges.
The boys raised the wrong hand. Again. They got their badges anyway.
That was so fun! Let's do it again.

1 comment:

Brian said...

That was fun. Great way to start the summer :). The pizza place was The Badger Den.