We loved it so much that we threw jackets over our pajamas and ran outside to take a few photos, like this one of the moon over the rock bluffs across the street:
Our hotel was perched above a pond in this beautiful setting, so we had fun taking photos.
Although we were still in our pajamas, we decided to visit the motel's continental breakfast, hoping it was still early enough that none of the other guests would be there to see us. But we were wrong. And we were happy about being wrong, because we loved chatting with a friendly older German couple there.
They explained that each year for the past 40 years, they had taken a 5-week vacation in the United States. They told us about their favorite U.S. National Parks (the Everglades and Bryce Canyon), about the obscure parks we'd never heard of (I'd list them, but I've already forgotten their names again), and about which parks were not worth making a separate trip for (Great Sands). Food, fuel, and lodging are so much cheaper in America than they are in Europe, they explained. I was interested to learn that although they've seen almost every National Park in America, they haven't traveled much around Germany or seen many of the areas closer to their home.
That seems to be a funny thing about human nature...sometimes we never get around to visiting the beautiful things right in our neighborhoods. Even though Capitol Reef National Park is only a 3.5 hour drive from my home, this was the first time I'd ever visited there. Luckily for me, my work friend Angie, who has visited the area several times because her great grandparents used to live nearby, was willing to take a trip with me there.
Here's a picture of the two of us, pretending to hold up an arch we found along the trail towards Hickman Bridge.
Here's a photo of the beautiful Hickman bridge:
Along the way to Hickman Bridge, we walked along this trail near the Fremont River.
Both Angie and I like to take photos, so we had lots of fun together. We took lots and lots of photos of ourselves throwing fall leaves into the air, in an attempt to get the timing right to capture a photo like this:
Here's Angie working to capture a cool photo of one of the big bluffs we saw along the Grand Wash trail:
Here's me trying to capture a photo of Goosenecks point. (I'm too chicken to stand right next to the edge of the cliff...laying down just felt much more safe).
Here's what Goosenecks point, where the Fremont river makes several hairpin turns, looks like:
We checked out the cute little one-room school house in Fruita, in a tree-filled verdant valley surrounded by the red-rock cliffs.
We loved the capturing the reflections off the school windows:
We loved eating at the Doc Inglesby Picnic Grove, where the deer are quite tame and allow you to approach quite near:
The picnic area has a picturesque bridge:
We loved walking along the petroglyph trail:
These petroglyphs with the herder who looks like he has devil horns reminded me of the "Ghost Riders in the Sky" song:
"If you want to save your soul from hell a riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today, or with us you will ride
Tryin' to catch the devil's herd, across these endless skies"
In this photo along the scenic drive, you can see the storm clouds rolling in. As a result of these clouds and the rain forecast, we didn't hike in the narrow Capitol Gorge, because the risk of flash floods was high.
Earlier in the day we had hiked Grand Wash, where we saw interesting coves, like these:
One of the last places we visited was sunset point, where it was quite windy, but also very beautiful.
Here's a few final shots of Capitol Reef. Thanks to my friend Angie for visiting there with me!