Grandma made it; we have first-hand knowledge of that (see previous blog entry). So did we.
After a fitful night’s sleep full of heat and wind, we left behind our dusty, windswept campsite before sunrise to hike Devil’s Garden in Arches. Closed for road construction. Sigh.
We bid a hasty farewell to Arches and Moab and grumbled about the heat, wind, dust, mobs of humans and the hellish-sounding attractions: Dead Horse Point, Devil’s Garden, Goblin State Park and Hellhole State Park. (That last one we made up. ) Then we arrived at Capitol Reef National Park. What a great place: few people, a campsite full of trees, and a 7 mile hike through eerie rock formations in which we encountered only a handful of people. It is the antithesis of Arches NP. It is also one of the only (if not THE only) national park that has a pie shop.
Fruita, the area, is a green oasis in the midst of the desert–people have been living here since the 1100s (we saw some of their petroglyphs). John Fremont, and his explorations of the West, brought the next wave of inhabitants. The first Mormons put down roots in the late 1800s and went on to build a small community, including a school, fruit orchards, and light industry. Although the community closed up in the early 1940s, the fruit trees survive and thrive; 2700 of them are still tended to by a National Park crew and, in season, visitors can freely pick from the pears, cherries, plums, apples, apricots, mulberries and other fruits.
The wind is gusty, we are dusty, but we’re happy, tired and excited about what tomorrow brings.