We had a heck of a weather day getting there, we had snow through the Fishlake National Forest area, and the threat of rain most of the day. Nevertheless we prevailed in having a good time and enjoying the scenery!
Speaking of which, here is the Dome of the Golden Cathedral. So called because in the sun the stone looks gold/yellow, and the early european explorers felt like these formations looked like cathedrals of stone. If you drive the Cathedral Valley Loop Road you have a spectacular view of these domes (There are several) to the southwest.
As previously mentioned the skies were cloudy with off and on rain, making landscape photography less than spectacular, however flowers tend to be shown off better with more diffuse light so I spent a fair amount of time crouched down or on my knees taking pictures of the local flora.
Most spectacular of the blooming things were the cacti. I am really not sure which variety lives in the Capitol Reef area, and frankly I don't care, all I know is that they were beautiful and I enjoyed looking at them!
Once we got to the end of the trail, we took the opportunity to rest and relax, some more than others. Of course for a photographer just taking photographs is enough to relax you!
There were other flowers around, but they didn't really photograph as well as I would have liked. I could have done better but after awhile you get tired of bending so much. I must be getting old...
Kerry was a little disgruntled to be at the end of the trail, he would have hiked all day given the opportunity I think. He was a good scout about Phil and I stopping to take photos of all the stupid things we stopped for. Guess I owe him...
Here Kerry and Phil are re-enacting a favorite scene from a Pirate Movie, walking the plank isn't quite the same when it is made of solid sandstone.
This is an arch in the making, one day it will stand after the rock behind it wears away, or it may collapse on some poor unfortunate photographer who was dumb enough to be standing underneath it when it gave way. Arches to collapse and rock does fall at times, I just hope it never does it when I am there!
This look back at the Golden Throne shows the effect of water on the color of sandstone... I makes it look even better! We had just spent 15 minutes hiding under a tree and an outcropping during a rain shower, while not putting us in danger of washing away it was still inconvenient and made for quite muddy hiking conditions for the last half mile or so...
It was interesting to see how the cacti captured the water in the cup of the blossom, I don't know if they are able to absorb the water, but I wouldn't be surprised. We deliberately scheduled our trip in the later spring trying to capture the desert in bloom. Glad we did!
We ate lunch at the trailhead picnic area. Just behind one wall there was a chipmunk running around doing it's thing. So I did mine, what else is a photographer to do?
The vivid reds and greens are a sharp counterpoint to the yellows and browns of this desert formation. It is an engrossing thinge to walk through a canyon and look at the layers and realize that each step takes you thousands of years backwards or forwards in time.
This is an area called "The Tanks" up Capitol Wash (I guess technically it is down canyon but whatever....) from the trailhead. It is worth walking up the wash to see the pioneer register (Cool but not photogenic) and some of the other geological formations that make up "The Capitol Reef" and lead down into Waterpocket Fold. We had thought of driving the entire Waterpocket Fold the next day but simply had not enough time, and worried about taking a fullsize diesel pickup truck down an area that would swallow it whole if it rained enough. Besides I HATE pushing trucks out of mud bogs, especially large heavy ones!
Here are my intrepid fellow explorers headed back to the truck. While not strictly speaking a "Slot Canyon" it is still fairly narrow and quite enjoyable to travel through.
If you are interested in further information about Capitol Reef National Park, click here.