Hiking the Pioneer Register

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Capitol Gorge

We are hiking down the narrow and rough Capitol Gorge trail.  As we walk along, pre-Columbian inscriptions are revealed along its looming walls.  Modern settlers etched their names here too.  Consequently, this area of graffiti is referred to as the pioneer register.  Some autographs have dates as early as the late eighteen hundreds.

We climb a steep path up from the canyon to discover the tanks.  These natural depressions are usually water filled.  As a result, they contain microflora and fauna unique to a desert ecosystem.  Bighorn sheep deftly run along the unique rock formations.  These rocks are this park's namesake.

At dusk, shadows spill down the gorge, and the rocks come to life.  Capitol Reef National Park is a geologists' dream.  It is named after a rock formation known as the Waterpocket Fold that appeared to early settlers to be an impassable reef, and for its capitol-building shaped cliff domes.

Sunset Trail

The golden sun is setting at our backs.  Together watching the colors appear on the Sulfur Creek Canyon walls far below is the reason we do this.  It is why we go hiking and traveling for hours.  It is to arrive at this one quiet moment that is worth a thousand preparatory moments.  We come for the feeling of peace and awe that a setting sunset grants.

We leave this National Park and travel nearby to Zion National Park for some amazing backpacking and camping click here.

Hiking Tips:

  • Take your geology book to enhance your learning experience.
  • Do not miss the orchards planted by Mormon settlers.  Additionally, the mail tree is truly impressive.
  • For more information visit: https://www.nps.gov/care/index.htm

For great road trip ideas, click here.

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