We set off early from Zion. First stop: Checkerboard Mesa, which Chris proceeded to climb. After an hour we turned right onto Scenic Byway 12, and drove it start to finish. This is a road.
My memories of Red Canyon from last year did not disappoint. Real Thelma and Louise territory. Adam: Why did you make me watch that film?
Next was a quick visit to Inspiration Point at Bryce, the first time for Chris and Adam.
Continuing east on 12 took us to through the Grand Staircase of the Escalante. Is there a more beautiful road in America with its twists and turns and canyons of every color?
We made it to the Anasazi Museum in Boulder just before closing. This state park houses thousands of artifacts of early native Americans in the region. This is a recreated fire pit.
We drove through rain (rain!) at 9600 feet on Boulder Mountain, and then descended to lovely Capital Reef in time to chase the sunset. Highway 12, end to end.
Adam drove us deep into Capital Gorge, as the steep sheer rock faces rose above us.
How, we wondered, did the Mormon wagon trains cross these enormous mountains?
Waterpocket fold continues for nearly 100 miles. The only cuts across it are washes, which can be full of water in dangerous flash floods.
Fruita, the oasis of Capital Reef, is green with water from the Fremont River. Settlers—no more than 10 families at a time—planted apples and peaches and pears. You can still taste the fruit of their labors today in the orchards.
Also along the river are giant sandstones with 13th-century petroglyphs. So wonderful that they've survived this long.