03 July 2006 Monday

We did the scenic drive thru the southern end of the park.  We did a 41/2 mile hike up the Grand Wash.  One point in the canyon, the walls werevery close, but not quite a slot canyon.  The steeper canyon walls gave ussome welcomed shade.  It was hot, but beautiful and nice to getout.  

We checked out some of the historic buildings near the Visitor’s Center,mostly buildings from the Mormon farming community that was here in the1800’s.  The Gifford House is a historic farmhouse that they now use as agift shop that also sells homemade fresh pies and ice cream from the seasonalfruits.  We "researched" the peach pie and both the cherry andvanilla ice cream.  They all passed inspection with flying colors(burp!)  

We caught a ranger guided talk about the petroglyphsand pictographs in the area.  The rocks are falling awayin some areas, so they are slowly loosing them.  We also saw evidence of graffition some of the rock art.  I haven’t figured out why people would want todeface rock art hundreds of years old for the sake of "Mary LovesBobby".

We headed out to the north end of the park to an area called Cathedral Valley.  We were cautioned about the roads, so we took the longway around, out west and then north of Capitol Reef, thru some national forestland.  Some of the most beautiful areas of many parks cannot be easilyaccessed, thus making a long journey worth the trip.  We drove down nearly30 miles of dirt roads, dodging cows in the road along the way, until we got toa free campground overlooking Cathedral Valley.  This area is overlookingan area called "The Monoliths" and … WOW!   We’re up on amesa, looking down on a flat desert floor with these huge… well, monoliths,jutting up hundreds of feet into the air!  We’ll drive down theretomorrow.  

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