Capital Reef National Park:11-14 April 2008


Capital Reef National Park, Utah

11-14 April 2008

A giant, twisting, multipronged furrow in the Earth's crust stretches for 100 miles across south-central Utah. This impressive buckling of rock, created 65 million years ago by the same tremendous forces that later uplifted the Colorado Plateau, is called the Waterpocket Fold. Capital Reef National Park, located within the Waterpocket Fold, comprises 378 square miles of spectacular and colorful cliffs, massive domes, soaring spires, twisting canyons and graceful arches.

Following the American Civil War, officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City sought to establish "missions" in the remotest niches of the Intermountain West. In 1866, a quasi-military expedition of Mormons in pursuit of marauding Indians penetrated the high valleys to the west. In the 1870s, settlers moved into these valleys, eventually establishing Loa, Fremont, Lyman, Bicknell, and Torrey.

Mormons settled the Fremont River valley in the 1880s and established Junction at the confluence of the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek. The settlement would later be known as Fruita and it was renown for its many orchards; the orchards still bear fruit today. The 2,500 or so trees are now under ownership and maintenance of the National Park Service.

The Fremont River was the key to life; without irrigation, farming would have been impossible. The residents prospered because of their hard work, and prolific orchards. Before the turn of the century the settlement was known as "the Eden of Wayne County." In 1902 the name of the little settlement was changed from Junction to Fruita. The settlement never incorporated, and local authority was vested in the Mormon Presiding Elder. The population of Fruita never exceeded ten families.

Although it became widely known in south-central Utah for its orchards, Fruita residents also grew sorghum, vegetables and alfalfa. The fruit growers usually picked the fruit prior to maturation and hauled it by the wagon load to bigger towns like Richfield...and beyond.

I met 4 friends at Fruita for a few days of hiking and camping. Betsy and Gene travelled from Victor, Idaho. Jock came down from Ogden, Utah, and Mike travelled west from Boulder, Colorado. I drove to Fruita from Berkeley California, taking a somewhat indirect route. I travelled south via Interstate 5 to Bakersfield, California. I then took Interstate 15 east through the Mojave Desert and Las Vegas, Nevada. My route continued north, through Utah on Interstate 15, I then travelled east on Interstate 70 and turned south, down to Fruita, on State Highway 24. I returned to northern California via U.S. Highway 50, "The Loneliest Road in America."


Photographs taken by Neil Mishalov with a Canon G9 camera

A view from the entrance to Chimney Rock Canyon


A view from the Chimney Rock Trail


A view from the Spring Canyon Trail


A view from the Cassidy Arch Trail. Coincidentally, Cassidy Arch is visible in this photo. Can you see the arch?


A view from Cassidy Arch Trail


Click on a image to see the full size photograph

Capital Reef National Park, Utah
Chimney Rock
A view from Highway 24, looking west
On the Spring Canyon Trail A view from the Spring Canyon Trail On the Spring Canyon Trail
A view from the Spring Canyon Trail Betsy, Jock, Mike and Gene heading southeast on the Spring Canyon Trail A view from the Spring Canyon Trail
Heading down the wash Easy does it Lovely
From the Grand Wash Trail In the Grand Wash A view from the Grand Wash Trail
IMG_1377.JPG IMG_1400.JPG
Climbing up the Cassidy Arch Trail A view from the Cassidy Arch Trail Nice balance
Water and wind eroded walls A view from the Rim Trail Betsy, Gene and Mike heading up the Rim Trail

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This page created on 23 April 2008. All photographs copyright 2008 by NEIL MISHALOV