Amended Plans, Anasazi and Capitol Reef NP

Our plan on leaving Bryce Canyon had been to take a look at some of the more accessible parts of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which we drove across the Northern edge of. The snowy conditions put paid to all that and we stuck firmly (well, in the main…) to the main road all the way to the tiny town of Boulder. We’d lost quite a lot of altitude by then and the town was pretty clear of snow, so we stopped as planned at the Anasazi State Park museum. This was a small museum at the site of an Anasazi pueblo excavated by the University of Utah in the late 1950s. Among notable new information was that many of the tribes in these parts believe that they arrived on Earth from another World by climbing a wooden ladder, and that it’s for this reason that many pit houses were accessed by ladder (or maybe it’s just that they’re below ground level?).


As Mark ably demonstrated at some of the other houses, they must’ve been quite petite…



From Boulder the road rose again over Boulder Mountain. The staff in the museum could access a webcam at the summit and said it looked fine but was probably best to go sooner rather than later. As it turned out, the road was completely clear, it having stopped snowing and the snowplough / subsequent traffic having done a good job. So we had a magnificent drive through a real winter wonderland…




Next stop was Capitol Reef National Park. All of the Cruise America vans have a picture of a National Park on the back and a dog looking out of the side door. We got Capitol Reef National Park and a beagle…. It was a cold night but the following day (Tuesday) was bright and sunny.


We did some exploring, by van and on foot….






Mark discovered his inner gnome…


…. and took an excessive interest in some poo (which, having perused a book in the visitor centre later, he declared to be coyote):


Capitol Reef also had some impressive petroglyphs, done by a group who lived there until around 1300. More than one local tribe seems to be claiming them as ancestors, and there are different explanations as to why they disappeared. I particularly like the one given by the Hopi tribe, who say that they left Capitol a Reef to continue their migration to the Centre of the Universe (the Hopi reckon that when they arrived up the wooden ladder they found themselves in the Grand Canyon, so they’d already migrated a bit North to get to Capitol Reef). Having seen the petroglyphs I do find this “Centre of the Universe” stuff quite believable….. the only thing missing was the flying saucer….



We’re now at Green River, a small town to the North-East of Capitol Reef, indulging in a night’s stay on a commercial campsite (wifi…. mains electricity…..) before continuing tomorrow towards Arches National Park. Utah really does seem to have a National Park for every occasion……