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Utah's National Parks

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Utah's National Parks - Page Text Content

S: Utah's National Parks 2009-2012

BC: The Brumbaugh Family | The pioneer orchards of Capitol Reef

FC: Utah's | National Parks | Family Trips 2009-2012

1: We love to hike and be in the great outdoors. We especially love National Parks and consider ourselves lucky to live in a state that has five of them! We set a goal a few years ago to visit and explore all five of our local National Parks. We've really enjoyed the challenge and had a great time accomplishing this goal! | Arches | Canyonlands

2: Arches | April 2009 | National Park | At the time of this visit, Carys was three years old and Maura was 9

3: Climbing and scurrying around 'The Windows' arches

4: "The Windows"

5: The red rocks of Arches N.P. provided lots of nooks and crannies to explore | Double Arch | The weather was sunny and fairly warm but there was a slight wind that added a chill to the air

6: The rocks around Double Arch were fun to climb on. We enjoyed lying on the rocks and looking up at the sky through the arches.

7: Springtime is always a nice time to visit the desert. The temps are nice and the few plants that do grow in the desert are green and sometimes blooming. It makes a beautiful contrast!

8: S | and | D | une | Arch

9: This was one of our favorites! A lot of sand, an impressive arch and a little slot canyon too; the best of everything!

10: There is a part of the hike right before you get to the arch that is steep and narrow and made us nervous with the young'uns. | Our hike to... | Delicate Arch

11: The view from the arch looking back at the trial

12: Tunnel Arch | Under Pine Tree Arch

13: Ancient ripple marks on sandstone | Skyline Arch

14: Landscape Arch | We passed this fun little sandy ramp area on our way to Landscape Arch

15: These dinosaur tracks are outside the park across the way. They are definitely worth seeing. So very interesting to think that dinosaurs were roaming this area millions of years ago.

16: Canyonlands | National Park April 2009 | The girls thought this view of Canyonlands looked like a big dinosaur footprint (background photo)

17: Canyonlands is just massive. We didn't get to explore the canyon floor. We mostly just enjoyed the overlooks.

18: Upheaval | (Canyonlands N.P.) | Dome

19: There were two well-known theories as to the origin of the upheaval. One theory was the upheaval is a salt dome, an anticlinal structure which occurs when a salt diapir is pushed up by the weight of overlying rocks. The other theory is an eroded impact crater, like the much younger Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona. In the 1990s, a team of geologists and seismologists from NASA and the University of Nevada at Reno performed a detailed study that included seismic refraction and rock mapping. The results of this study support the meteorite theory. In 2008, it was announced that shocked quartz was discovered. This confirmed the meteor impact theory because the rocks were subjected to high pressures only possible in an impact or a nuclear explosion. (Wikipedia) | What a strange but cool place. | "That's far out, man..."

20: May 2011

21: We stayed at a KOA in Glendale, Utah located just east of Zion N.P. Driving to Zion from the east side was new for us; in the past we've come in from the south entrance . | 5 years old | 11 years old | View from the KOA This is the edge of Bryce Canyon

22: Checkerboard Mesa A new sight we got to see coming in from the east entrance. | Camping at the KOA and cooking in the great outdoors. | Beautiful waterfall along the Riverside Walk

23: Riverside Walk

24: Riverside Walk | Zion is amazingly beautiful in the spring. There were so many wildflowers blooming and green foliage everywhere. There was also a lot of water coming from the falls and just dripping from the canyon walls, | or "Gateway to the Narrows"

26: The colors throughout the park were so vibrant and in stark contrast with one another. The greens of the trees and foliage, the blue, blue sky and the red rocks were in perfect compliment.

27: The Riverside Trail leads to the trailhead for The Narrows Trail. But due to high water, The Narrows was closed. Disappointing, but we stopped for lunch to enjoy the sights. Our lunch break wasn't long thanks to the aggressive and annoying squirrels!

28: Weeping | Rock

29: Fruit snack break | What a beaut!

30: Emerald

31: Nooks and crannies | Pools

32: "The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” John Muir | Zion, | Big | Grand

33: Beautiful Zion | Magnificent | Exquisite

34: Bryce Canyon | April 2012 | Driving to Bryce through Red Canyon

35: National Park

36: Mossy Cave | This was the only hike we did in Bryce. We had a limited amount of time and wanted to drive the entire road through the park.

37: Mossy Cave Trail

38: Ah, Wilderness! | The vibrant colors of the desert are always awe inspiring. The deep blues of the skies, the white clouds, the red rocks, and the verdant green foliage. Together they create breathtaking contrasts!

39: Down By The Riverside The Sevier River | From 1890-1892 Mormon Pioneers labored with picks and shovels to carve an irrigation ditch from the East Fork of the Sevier River, through the Paunsaugunt Plateau, into this canyon.

40: Hoodoos... | Pronghorn | Pronghorn | hoodoo n. \hü-dü\ : a pillar of rock, usually of fantastic shape, left by erosion.

41: ...and more hoodoos

43: The Amphitheater

45: Natural Bridge | Thor's Hammer

46: End of the road! | We drove the entire length of the road that goes through Bryce (and back) and stopped at almost all of the lookouts. The girls didn't get out at all of them because they were busy with new souvenirs. What a beautiful National Park! We've identified some hikes we want to do next time we go.

47: The canyons were so deep, steep and amazingly beautiful.

48: The people hiking down in the canyon looked like little ants from our perspective.

49: Impressive! | Grand! | Maura with her souvenir cube. This is usually the gift shop item of choice at most National Parks.

50: What a picture - perfect day!

51: Until next time.....

52: Capitol Reef National Park | Beautiful cliffs | Capitol Dome | October 2012 | Capitol Reef: capitol for the white domes of Navajo Sandstone that resemble capitol building domes, and reef for the rocky cliffs which are a barrier to travel, like a coral reef.

53: The fall foliage was spectacular! | Chimney Rock | Waterpocket | Capitol Dome

54: Our Campsite Sunglow Recreational Area Fish Lake National Forest | We took this trip over the busy fall break/deer hunt weekend. The campsites in Capitol Reef were full so we were feeling lucky to find this spot. It was 6 miles away from the park. We initially wished that we were closer but soon were glad that we found this quiet and breathtaking campground! | surrounded by red rock cliffs | When we first got to the campsite, we noticed some hunters had left some dead ducks in the fire pit, gross! Doug incinerated them. Actually smelled pretty good as they cooked.

55: We did a lot of scrambling around on these talus slopes (background picture). | Julie and Debra | Our campsite seen from the hill | The riverbed just behind our campsite provided a lot of opportunities for adventuring!

56: This hill across the parking lot from our campsite was fun to climb and explore! Carys thought this particular part looked like a big tongue. | Maura on the cliff above the river bed.

57: Nights were COLD! Cooking breakfast in the morning was uncomfortable to say the least. | Deb and Nick kept us in firewood.

58: Playing in the riverbed

59: Playing near the bookstore in Torrey | Fun times near the campsite

60: Getting ready to start our drive through Cathedral Valley on Hartnet Road. This road is definitely a rugged one and starts out at a river ford. Nick checked it out first to see if we could take the Subaru through it (I think he really enjoyed the experience and took our girls for a joy ride as well). The opinion after doing so was that we shouldn't take the Subaru through the river. Instead, we went to Caineville Wash Road and ultimately had to take a detour through Fish Lake Nat'l Forest to get back to the campground. | Nick was having WAY too much fun! In his excitement he backed up a little to far (and right into the trees).

61: Officially on Caineville Wash Road. The variety and color of the rocks and formations throughout Cathedral Valley was quite diverse. Awe inspiring, larger-than-life! | Because this backcountry road is so rugged there were very few cars and people. Solitude, Secluded!

62: Queen of the Wash

63: This is what all National Parks should be like. Uncrowded, solitary and beautiful!

64: Temple of the Moon | We had lunch at the base of The Temple of the Moon. The girls were more interested in playing than eating.

65: Temple of the Sun

66: Glass Mountain | Made of gypsum, this little shiny hill is an interesting anomaly in the desert. | A gypsum dome - made completely of selenite gypsum

68: Gypsum Sinkhole This hole contained gypsum at one time. Groundwater eventually dissolved the gypsum to create this sinkhole.

69: Needle Mountain and Cathedral Mountain | Walls of Jericho (background photo)

70: Happy | Pyro at work | Campers

71: Crabby didn't want to get out of the car to appreciate the beauty at this moment. She wanted to keep playing whatever it was they were playing.

72: We all agreed that this was a "gorge"ous drive. Look at the canyon walls!

73: Wow! | Capitol Gorge Trailhead

74: Pioneers traveled through this gorge and etched their names in the rock. If you do it today you pay $250.

76: Swiss Cheese rock makes the best Jungle Gym!

77: Hiking to "The Tanks" | Otherwise known as Waterpockets: holes in the rock in which water collects.

78: Waterpockets

79: Navajo Sandstone | "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." Aristotle

80: Hiking through Waterpocket Fold

81: ...it’s all still there in my heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure—they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days to come, like a treasure found and then, voluntarily, surrendered. Returned to the mountains with my blessing. It leaves a golden glowing on the mind.” Edward Abbey

82: Maura was really hoping to see a mountain lion while we were hiking. The rest of us, not so much.

83: Other Side Trips | Oyler Uranium Mine

85: Historic Gifford Farmhouse | Part of our love for this park is the combination of rock/geologic history and human history. This area was the home of the ancient Fremont Indians and one can see evidence of this in the numerous Petroglyphs and granaries through-out the park. It was later settled by Mormon pioneers, and some of the structures that they built still remain as do numerous fruit and nut orchards. Fall was a beautiful time to visit - all the trees planted by the Mormon settlers and those that grew naturally along the Fremont River were changing color and quite lovely. The contrast between the color of the rock, sky and autumn leaves was spectacular! | This is the Gibson house - an original pioneer home that still remains and now contains a museum and the cutest country store that you ever did see! They have yummy baked goods here too. Deb and Nick bought pie for Doug's birthday, we sang "Happy Birthday" to him and ate pumpkin pie, cherry pie and ice cream | Gangnam Style

86: Hickman Natural Bridge | Let's hike to... | The trail starts out following the Fremont River and hugging red rock. (The girls are enjoying their giant suckers that we got at the country store; turns out that they were a good thirst quencher for hiking.) We then hiked through a low-growing desert area filled with volcanic rock, gently rounded by debris flows associated with melting glaciers.

87: We decided to do one last hike knowing that we would return home very late. It turned out to be worth the late night! We hiked to Hickman Natural Bridge. Because it was late afternoon/early evening there were very few people on the trail. Just the way we like it! | This is a granary made by the Fremont Indians many moons ago. | These bumps are iron accumulations that weather out of the sandstone (iron is more resistant than the surrounding sandstone). | The girls playing on the baby natural bridge.

88: We made it to Hickman Natural Bridge

90: There were sections of the trail that weren't real clear, so the girls built cairns to help make the trail more visible. They were very proud of their creations.

91: Evidence of the abundant variety of desert environments on this trail. We started with the riparian environment and its big trees and autumnal beauty, through the low growing cactus/juniper environs, then back into large trees like pinon and cottonwood near the wash.

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  • By: Julie B.
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