Did that make any sense to you? Maybe, maybe not but that is what we were up to. We flew from Ohio to Las Vegas, picked up a car there and headed north on I-15 through Nevada, a bit of Arizona and into Utah on our way to a town called Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park. Did I mention that this trip saw us in three different time zones as well?
Why Utah and a national park? Well it goes like this. I’ve photographed full moons, blue moons and blood moons all from my back yard, we planned and went on a road trip to Kentucky for the last total solar eclipse but this time we were going for something brand new. Astrophotography!
I researched a great deal planning our trip to a national park that was a certified dark area (which DH had been wanting to do anyway. the park that is) around the time of the new moon which makes for great astrophotography and in our case – capturing the Milky Way! Yes! That was the bucket list goal of this trip.
Some of you who may live in areas where you get to see this celestial sight on the regular may be so over seeing it but I had never seen it before so I was super excited to go on this trip for that and some serious hiking; well, serious for me anyway.
So I will begin this tour of our flying road trip with where we stayed, The Capitol Reef Resort in Torrey, Utah. A charming place on 58 acres of land with wonderful views of the red cliffs and practically next door to the national park. The resort had rooms that ranged from regular to upgraded, various levels of cabins, the Conestoga wagons and tepees!
A view of three of the tepees, there were more.
Looking up inside one of them that they were still setting up.
Having this view every morning from our patio did not hurt my feelings one tiny bit!
Don’t laugh but when we went exploring behind the resort, we had to cross this one stream on a fallen tree. It was the first time I had ever done that and DH poked fun at me as I slowly and cautiously made my way across the – at most 6 inches deep – stream. I was quicker on the way back.
Exploring around and behind the resort. I was told that beyond the fence line was public land open for anyone to go exploring but carefully. We quickly discovered that there were washes and varying terrain which you needed to be aware of and prepared for which we were neither. We just went for a quick explore and soon discovered just how far we had wandered.
You can see in this photo just how far we had wandered off if you look at the tiny row of buildings in the upper part of the image. Our room was somewhere on the right of the building in the middle.
The geology in Utah was just amazing to behold but there was something different I noticed here in Torrey and in the park. There were these boulders that were almost entirely black except for their undersides. They stood in stark contrast from all of the red around them and for a good reason.
These are volcanic rocks that came from 20-25 million year old lava flows that cap nearby Boulder and Thousand Lakes mountains and parts westward. The rocks are also black on the inside but what made them a different color on their undersides? That coating is a mineral crust known as caliche which is a think film of calcite and gypsum crystals that forms when mineral laden groundwater seeps up, coats the boulders and then evaporates leaving that change in color. You can learn more about the black boulders and how they got from where they began to where they are now here.
Now that you know where we were, stay tuned for the tour! Oh! I simply must mention this about Torrey. It is a small town and I’d venture a guess that tourism is it’s bread and butter. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the population in 2017 was 243 but I think it’s grown a bit since, maybe, it definitely does when the tourist season begins. But of the places to stay and eat I highly recommend where we stayed and for some killer burgers try Slackers and for the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life try breakfast at La Cueva. Those pancakes were so good they didn’t even need butter or syrup! The rest of their food was great too but oh those pancakes…