Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

The Rest of the Grand Wash

Monday September 1, 2014
Fruita Campground
Capitol Reef National Park
Torrey, Utah



The Grand Wash hike is the Grand Finale of our shortened visit to Capitol Reef National Park.  If you didn’t see the beginning of this hike, you’ll have missed half the beauty.   You can read it here.

I left you with the chocolate caramel sundae idea after I had gone into several Sherry sized cavities to try to fool David with only limited success.

I go into one more in order to get some pictures from the inside.  I don’t exactly understand how this wears away with water unless it is during the gigantic rainstorms and flash floods that apparently fill this wash with rushing water.




I walk up and in here to get the pictures that follow.  Something is flying around inside but is so fast I can’t get its picture.  Bat, bird, I’m not sure.  When it first zooms down from above, it shocks me and I let out a shriek.





Just look at the beauty in here.



By this time we are on our way back on this 4.5 mile hike in and out from the parking lot in the wash.   The road in, the parking lot and the hike are all in the wash.  Be sure to check the weather before coming here.



Of course when you are going the opposite direction many things look totally different and you see things you did not see when you passed this way before.   Or perhaps you were too busy watching your step over the rock strewn wash.




Whatever the reason I didn’t see this elephant head that I call Gaelyn for my friend who loves elephants.   Do you see it?


It does have a bit of a trunk problem but the eye and ear are still there.


We are still feeling very small in this very large landscape.









It’s all so amazing, the size of it, the details of it, the colors of it.   Sometimes it seems as if the eyes of the canyon are upon us.








Other times it seems as though we must be under the sea or at the bottom of a huge  canyon.










We laugh out loud when we meet up with this.   Oh NO!





The light for photographs has improved as we have hiked. But the sun has gotten stronger and I’ve donned my sunbonnet in defense. It looks pretty quirky but it sure does the trick in keeping the sun off of my face. Those 19th Century farm ladies know what they were doing.




He’s definitely center stage don’t you think?







The minerals which color these rocks are simply marvelous.





We are nearing the parking lot when we find what looks like petrified wood but isn’t.  Sure fooled us from a distance.








When we get back to the parking lot, we aren’t surprised at all the cars.  We’ve seen a lot of people going the other way as we’ve been coming out.  But mostly we  have had this hike to ourselves probably because of our early start.




Even if you don’t hike the Grand Wash Trail you really must at least drive down the road and see this magnificent approach to the trailhead.  Here are just a couple looks at the dirt section of the drive.






Had it not been for the roadside sign that caused us to stop and take a look we would never have known about the mine located here.  A claim was first filed in 1904  but it was in the 1920’s that uranium ore from this mine was ground up and mixed into drinking water or worn in packets on waistbands or on arthritic joints to “cure” rheumatism and other ailments.  Now that’s pretty scary.

The information tells us there are no statistics to indicate which was more harmful, the diseases or the cure.


There are many signs today warning you away from the radiation here. 









While others are out hiking the wash in mid afternoon, we relax with the Fremont River on our last day in Capitol Reef National Park.  We sit and read by the river, walk up stream in the river.  The only thing we don’t do is go get on our bathing suits and sit in it.  It’s less than a foot deep but flowing at a good clip.








Capitol Reef is definitely one of Utah’s great parks.  I only wish we hadn’t had to cut our stay in half.  We can hope to return some day and spend more time if that becomes possible.




Not knowing whether we will be able to come west again, David doesn’t want to skip anything even if we have to shorten things up considerably.

It’s been a perfect day here. We’ll see you tomorrow for a short visit to Arches and Canyonlands as we begin our trip back to Doctorville.



  1. another great great hike in living life to it's fullest... great picture, love Oh, No!!!

  2. Still loving the bonnet...it's the best! Glad you get to close out a few more areas...love last shot of David!!!

  3. It really does look like you're walking on the bottom of the sea. I wouldn't be surprised to see a fish swim by...

    I'm thinking that you've really been enjoying the reef, a truly amazing place. I can just imagine how you struggle to decide what pictures to put in your post. ;c)

  4. Thanks for adding another wonderful place to my wish list. Great pictures!

  5. Keep the faith, I'm sure you two will get back out west!
    You asked about our next assignment....back to Kentucky and Amazon, then Florida for the winter...I'm sure we'll catch up to you somewhere! next summer....back here at Luton's ;-). We are returning for another season, absolutely love it here.

  6. Do not go negative on me, you two. You WILL return to the west! Great photos. We he to be there in the next future.

  7. Those rock formations are amazing.

  8. Wonderful pictures of a beautiful area, we hope to be there in a few weeks.

  9. Beautiful photos. Thank you for posting.

  10. Yes, beautiful photos. So many people drive through the park and check it off. Glad you got to really see it. It's one of my favorite parks - so much to see. Sorry you had to cut it short.

  11. Sherry we just completed Great Wash hike today. Great minds must think alike, because we took some of the exact SAME pictures as you.
    We are praying that things work out for David and you'll be able to enjoy the road as you have in the past. As you already know, this country has so many places to see.

  12. Sorry I'm meant "Grand Wash". Must have been thinking too quickly. LOL

  13. Another series of great pictures! Love seeing them.

  14. Wonderful, Wonderful!!! Love all the photos, but favorites are the ones that show just how small we are in the scope of things:o)) Your post took us right there...Thanks!!!

  15. Good morning, Sherry ;) … you always remind and show how diverse and beautiful our country is …. the canyon walls are like colored glass! … gorgeous ! as well as your sense of humor with formations… I would have cracked up too .. oh noooo

    Mr. Bill on Saturday Night Live… oh, nooooo Hahaa

  16. I was wondering what happened to "Mr. Bill" looks like his ghost is trapped in the rock. Great pictures. Can't wait for your post on Arches- we loved it.

  17. Love the rock colors and faces. I finally saw the elephant :) Flash floods there must be intense! Nice that you started early before that lot started to fill! Lovely afternoon...perfect relaxation!!!

  18. Capitol Reef is one of the Utah parks we never got to for some reason when we were living in Utah --- I think that "working" thing got in the way ;-) Thanks for giving us a taste of it.

  19. I am so glad you got to visit this remarkable landscape!

    I loved Arches, especially the Primitive Trail (7 miles through a bunch of sandstone fins, plus some arches) but have never made it to Canyonlands...we may head there next fall.

  20. Someday we'll get to Capitol Reef, we love all of the UT parks we've had an opportunity to see. I keep telling my husband he needs to read your blog (he doesn't read any yet) this hike was his favorite kind. Thanks to you we're planning a bike ride in OH next week, can't wait.

  21. Just had time to sneak your post in before heading out down the road. Gorgeous rocks!

  22. Wow. What a beautiful nation we have.

  23. The rock formations (where you mentioned it looked like it was under the sea) look like they'd feel smooth. Can you imagine how c]scary it would be to be caught in a flash flood when you were hiking among the rocks? Beautiful and glad you had fun! xxxooo

  24. Glad you put some people in your pictures, sure gives the perspective of the enormity of the wash. Great hike!

  25. Wow, who'd have thought you'd see an elephant in UT. Yet another awesome hike. I always notice different things on the return.

  26. We just finished reading a book "Thunderhead" by Preston and Child with a large wash and slot canyons in a flash flood - your photos really enhanced our visual of that story!! I love this hike - the variety is amazing. Yep, that sure looks like petrified wood. When I think that just a few months ago you were "hiking" the Library of Congress, it seems impossible all you've seen since then :-) Kentucky sure looks green after the Utah photos!

  27. The flash floods that do come through those slot canyons every once in awhile certainly do some reshaping. You've certainly made me want to see this place.

  28. I wonder if you have to register to take on a trail. It seems that it is only the both of you who are enjoying the serenity and beauty of the trail.

  29. You got some great pictures' really lite's a fire to hike and experience in person one day. Thanks !

  30. I loved not only your hike, but also your afternoon relaxing by the river. You two know how to make the most of every precious day.


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