Having completed most everything we could do in Zion short of the hikes that require permits, such as the Narrows and Subway. Our next destination was Capitol Reef. It was relatively close, something new, and sounded like there might be some interesting hikes there. It’s not as well known as Bryce, Arches, or a few of the other parks in that area, but we had already seen parts of those in past trips.
The park itself is a very long narrow stretch of land surrounding a waterpocket fold. As we learned, the defining element of a fold is where the rock rises up gently from one side, but has broken off and forms cliffs from the other. In the park, this means that if you approach from the West you see cliff walls and if you approach from the East, not so much. Capitol Reef has a small area which is the Fruita Historic District where the remains of the town are preserved and the various orchards are still active and at the right time of year you can pick your own fruit.
We stayed at a hotel about 10 miles outside of the park in Torrey, got up relatively early and went straight to the Capitol Reef visitor center to figure out what we were going to do to make best use of about a day and half visit. The weather which had haunted us thus far on the trip was not far off and the ranger warned us that if we wanted to hike any of the slot canyons we needed to be headed there immediately to avoid potential rain and flash floods later in the day.