Right then. Time to go home. In this, our last instalment of this year’s trip to Utah, I talk about the journey from Capitol Reef National Park through the Great Basin into Oregon. This was over the course of three days, and many, many miles of highway that traverses some very desolate regions of the continent.
In my previous post, The Burr Trail, you will remember that we passed through the southern reaches of this under rated National Park. We went on towards Bullfrog and then headed north.
We ended up spending a night on the east side of the park in a dispersed camping area managed by the BLM. This set us up to spend the morning exploring the more accessible areas of Capitol Reef.
The park is entered off UT 24. Stop at the visitor’s center and pick up a map/guide/brochure. Visit the gift shop. Learn a bit about the park.
Coming from the east, UT 24 follows the Fremont River into the park. The river valley is well suited for fruit crops and the early settlers created quite a number of orchards. Driving deeper into the park you reach the campground and the Gifford House. Gifford House is one of the early farmhouses built here. Get here early and you can purchase an individual portion pie made using methods like those of 150 years ago. Mine was quite tasty.
Having enjoyed a few moments in Fruita, Liddy and I travelled south into the park proper. The Scenic Drive follows the west side of the main mountain range that makes the Reef what it is. We followed it south to Capitol Gorge (Stop 9 on the NP Service Site).
The upper part of the Gorge is accessed by the old gravel road that is still maintained by the Park Service. It ends in a parking area, and you are treated to a leisurely walk that takes you further down into the Gorge where you can see petroglyphs; both ancient, and more recent. Well worth it, I think.
This Old Tree
I am attracted to gnarly old trees. I love the abstract shapes they take on, especially junipers.
I spent a significant amount of time attempting to get this image composed exactly right (not saying I succeeded.)
The frustration comes when I attempt to separate the tree from the background in Photoshop. Because the tree and the background are so similar in color, I can’t do it without painting a selection over it and all its branches. Just a thought to remember for next time.
On our way west from the visitor center we drove the short Southpoint Road to the Goosenecks Overlook, and Sunset Point. As it was midafternoon when we visited, there were no sunset shots, and I don’t care to share the few attempts I made to record the Goosenecks.
Dogs in the Park.
Capitol Reef National Park enforces the same rules as most other NPs about Dogs and Pets. In general – Not Allowed – with a few exceptions. As a Service Dog, Liddy fits into one of those exceptions. Please take a moment to review this page if you are traveling to a National Park with your Pets.
Great Basin National Park
I don’t recall exactly where we parked for the night on our way west. When most of the highway looks like this, it’s easy to lose track of where you are.
The plan was to follow US 50 westward through Austin Nevada. The town looked to have potential when we passed through on our way to Kanab. Along the way, I also wanted to visit Great Basin National Park.
To enter the park, you will have to locate the town of Baker, NV. It rests below Wheeler Peak and from the distance looks more like a large ranch than a town. Services are sparce shall we say.
Because it was April, most of the park was closed. If you visit, you may want to explore the Lehman Caves. They were not on my radar as I wouldn’t take Liddy into such a place.
An unexpected delight was the opportunity to watch a turkey gobbler courting some hens as we drove up the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. This guy has obviously been in a few battles.
Austin Nevada to Oregon
We took our leave of the Great Basin NP sometime around ten in the morning. It was three in the afternoon when we arrived in Austin Nevada.
If you like to shoot old buildings, this town should be on your bucket list. It hangs on to the western slope of the Toiyabe Range at about sixty-five-hundred feet and straddles US 50. I say hangs on to the range because… well, it just does.
Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
Last fall, Liddy and I spent a few days exploring Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. It was fun, so I thought we should try the Sheldon NWR on this trip. It was originally planned as part of the outbound leg but got bumped because of time. Now, on our homeward leg, we had the time.
I don’t pretend to be a wildlife photographer, but like most people love to watch wildlife when it comes before us. By planning trips through wildlife refuges, I feel I am increasing my chances of meeting some. Sheldon NWR features the American Pronghorn and is home to Big Horn Sheep.
To do wildlife photography properly, you need patience. Long lenses help, but patience is the key. Research your subject. Locate your hide. Wait. Thats it. Wait. Patience is a virtue I am short on, and I was weary of the highway miles. No wildlife was captured on this segment.
Well, here we are in July posting journal entries from April. I sense an opportunity fo improvement. Liddy and I will be going south to Utah again next year. The Outsiders Conference in Kanab is scheduled for early March – 2022. Will want to pack some warmer blankets me thinks.
We are helping with the Washington State Fair Photo Salon this year (I’d say again, but it didn’t happen last year) so our August and September travels are limited. We hope to make a trip up to Vancouver, BC in September for family matters. We shall see if the border opens up.
So, our next opportunity for a photo safari is in October. Hopefully the wildfire season will be done, and the damage will be minimal. Yellowstone and Glacier are on my bucket list. We shall see.
On the Map
This map shows the locations mentioned in this post. Click on a thumbnail to open the image in the lightbox.
At this time, these images will not display any metadata like the ones in the post above. Also, these images will be combined in the lightbox slideshow when you open it. (Just so you know)