Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A large portion of our Capitol Reef trip was an excursion into Cathedral Valley. This is an iconic western scene that few people ever see live and the reason for its relative obscurity is its vast isolation from, well anything. There are only a few ways into Cathedral Valley and all of them involve one or more of the following; a long bumpy dirt road containing deep sand, washed out stream beds, a river ford or impassible when wet clay. For us bold adventurers we started the day fording the Fremont River. It was odd driving our Jeep through the river for about 20 feet. At its deepest point the water was probably one foot deep.
After the river fording/crossing we reached what are called the Benonite Hills. These mounds of clay were pretty amazing, especially the oddly out of place lava boulders.
Soon after we hiked to the overlook of our first glimpse into Cathedral Valley. The over 500 foot monolith Jailhouse Rock was the first of the impressive monoliths of the valley and all of us enjoyed sitting and admiring it from the overlook above.
After this there were several other overlooks looking at different portions of Cathedral Valley and the South Desert.
Even more impressive than the inspiring vistas was the descent into Cathedral Valley. Being upclose to the monoliths was amazing and very reminescent of driving through Monument Valley.
One of the neatest landforms was an odd shaped fin like barrier that we drove past. The odd thing was the almost perfect V shape in the middle of the barrier.
Niah was PERFECT on this 58 mile rough dirt road excursion. I do not remember her crying at all other than when she was hungry once and when after hitting a bump Renee jabbed her in the gums with her sharp nails. I am the most fortunate man in America to have a wife and daughter willing to make a 5 hour drive in the middle of no where to see some big rocks, and colorful clay!