In late May, Nancy and I journeyed to east-central Utah. Our goal was initially to headquarter in Hanksville, UT, but no lodging was available, so we stayed in Torrey on the western side of Capitol Reef National Park. Capitol Reef is a long, narrow National Park. The main road is under construction this summer, which limited the areas we could visit (and certainly concentrated the visitors into a small area of the Park).
We solved the crowding problem by rising before dawn each day and visiting areas of the Park that required high-clearance 4WD vehicles. I was also seeking "golden hour" light for photography either at dawn or dusk. This plan worked well. In what National Park today can one say they are completely alone? We were surrounded by desert wildflowers, total silence and spectacular solitude.
Temple of the Sun and Moon (this is the Moon), Capitol Reef NP. We did not plan this, but there was the moon when we arrived just after dawn and driving 26 miles (one-way) of the most wash-boardy road we have ever experienced. The Jeep was not happy, but it got us there and back safely.
Temple of the Sun with Naked-stem Sunray flowers in full bloom. Clumps of these flowers were abundant throughout the green bunch grasses.
Temple of the Sun (background) and Moon. Nancy is ready to hike around them.
Near the Temples of the Sun and Moon is Glass Mountain. Only about 20-ft high, this pile of large gypsum (selenite) crystals is just plain weird. Crystal shards (right) are scattered around the "mountain".
The Bentonite Hills begin to emerge on the eastern side of Capitol Reef National Park. These striated hills intermingle the Blue Hills towards Hanksville. Please see my gallery "Bentonite and Blue Hills" on these formations for more photos and videos.
Early mornings were spent east of Capitol Reef NP, but we loved the sunsets in the Park. These photos were taken off the Sunset Trail (what else would you call it?) which is a short 1 mile hike to the overlook.
East of Capitol Reef and near Hanksville is Factory Butte, pictured here with Central Prickly Pear cactus in the foreground. Two geographic features -- Factory Butte or the Henry Mountains (below) -- were in the background of many of my photos from this area.
Past Factory Butte is Moonscape Overlook. The Blue Hills (foreground) and the Bentonite Hills (distant background) intermingle to produce a landscape carved by erosion and time over thousands of years. No trees, very few flowers, scattered spots of grass -- a moonscape here on Earth.
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