Saturday, May 18, 2013

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef was our last stop on this little family vacation.  Again, we had been before but had been unable to secure a campsite because the campground is on a first-come, first-served basis, & we arrived too late.  Knowing this, we knew the importance of getting here early, but we also had about a 70 mile drive from Goblin Valley....and we have four kids & one on the way, so we aren't as fabulous at getting out early as we could be  We arrived right around 10 a.m. and secured the final site in the campground.  I think someone was looking out for us though because we got the handicapped spot, a super sweet spot that was plenty big for our big rig.  Another lady explained to me that when the campground fills, the camp host gives the handicapped site to the first one to arrive that he deems is worthy in some way.  Not sure if it was the truckful of kids or the baby on the way that convinced him, but he did indeed give us the spot!! Yay!

Capitol Reef is a great little cool, green oasis that provides a nice contrast to the arid conditions & the red, orange rock formations that are so prevalent in this area of Utah (though you'll find some of this at Capitol Reef, too).  We were here for long enough for the kids to participate in the Junior Ranger program, and since the Ripple Rock Nature Center had just opened, they were able to enjoy that. Jake was enamored with all the animal puppets, and all of them had fun playing around there.  They also got to make plaster of paris casts of deer tracks (even if we did found out later that they weren't "real" deer tracks).  

It took some prodding, but I got my girls to hike with me on the Cohab Canyon Trail.
Capitol Reef is lesser known than all the other Utah national parks, but still spectacular
The boy rode on Dad's back the whole time, mainly to give Mom some peace
The view from one of the overlooks
More amazing rock formations
The campground is in the trees below
Since we were here on the weekend, we also got to participate in the evening Ranger programs, including a storytime where Genna got to be a volunteer (she doesn't seem to mind the spotlight so much unlike her big sisters!) and an astronomy talk.  The campground also had a bin with free firewood in it (never seen that before!), so we actually enjoyed two campfires while we were here!!  There's something about late nights around the fire that brings out the goofy side in our two big girls.  Love that!!

Creeks were made for play
They played in the water for nearly an hour
The sun felt great
Steve took Shanan, Alyssa & Jake on the Cohab Canyon trail.  I dropped them off at the trail, and they hiked the 1-3/4 miles back to the campground, so they wouldn't have hike out & back.  After lunch, we headed back to the Gifford House, which the big girls had fond memories of from our last visit.  Although their ice cream is still yummy, many of the goods they sell are no longer made there but are bought elsewhere & resold, unfortunately.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed ice cream and then spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon playing in the creek & basking in the sun in the soft grass!  We finished our stay with a 3 mile evening hike as a family on the Freemont River trail that ran just behind our campsite.   

After dinner, we enjoyed a 3 mile hike as a family
The view along our hike
The trail continues
There was a nice rewarding view at the end
They all kiss the baby!
This was a truly great family vacation.  You know how usually you come home from vacation, ready to be home again??  Well, we weren't really ready!  The drive back was cold (the temp dropped down to 33 degrees at one point), rainy, & windy.  We even saw a bit of snow!  Crazy!!  But, we made it back, safe & sound, and Steve parked the rig in the niche next to the house in short order!  And, we survived the transition back to "life" as we know it here in Salt Lake City.  Can't wait for the next adventure!  

1 comment:

Brian Head Utah said...

This place is great. Thanks for sharing!

Brian Head Utah