After a couple weeks in Hurricane, Utah we moved on to Torrey, Utah right outside Capitol Reef National Park. We are further north and higher up. Our boondocking spot is around 6700′ and we had to endure a cold spell last night…and a bit of snow this morning. No biggie, break out the giant tub of hot chocolate!
I tweaked my back the other morning so am trying to take it easy and see which way things go. So on our first day we drove around to some of the viewpoints and did some short walks to explore and see some cool things in the area.
Mormon pioneers planted thousands of fruit trees in the fertile Fremont River Valley. From the 1880s to 1960s, these trees provided food and income to the ten or so families who called this area home. Apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums dotted each family’s orchards. Today the orchards contain many heirloom varieties for people to discover and enjoy. National Park Service maintains the orchards year-round with historic cultural irrigation practices, pruning, mowing, pest management, planting, mapping, and grafting.
We walked over and checked out two GIANT Freemont cottonwood trees in Historic Fruita. Apparently the big one is called the Mail Tree. Mailbags and wooden boxes were hung on a large tree in the center of the community. Outgoing mail was picked up by the postman who replaced it with new mail about every three weeks. Doesn’t sound terribly reliable, huh?
We did a couple short walks out to see Chimney Rock, The Castle, Gooseneck Point, and Sunset Point. First up was Chimney Rock. Chimney Rock is a natural spire, eroded out of the side of the mesa and stands 300 feet above the road. The southwest is so full of cool domes, pillars, rock mesas and spires!
The Castle is a craggy chunk of sandstone sitting high above the valley floor. This area, known as the Fruita, is made up of three primary layers. The bottom sandstone layer is known as the Moenkopi Formation and is about 245 million years old. The middle gray-green layer is known as the Chinle Formation and was laid down as volcanic ash about 225 million years ago. The top layer, including the Castle, is known as the Wingate Sandstone and is believed to have formed about 200 million years ago! Impressive? Yes.
Lastly, we walked out to Sunset Point Sunset Point is a short easy path that follows the rim of the twisting, 500 foot-deep canyon of Sulphur Creek to a viewpoint atop a red rock ridge. From here the view looking east along the canyon had massive views towards the cliffs and domes of Capitol Reef. From the same parking lot we also walked out to Gooseneck Point and far below we could see the tight twisty bends (goosenecks) the creek follows.