After packing up the car and saying our thank yous and goodbyes to the crew at Tex’s Riverways we headed off to celebrate our trip with a late lunch at the Moab Brewery. I celebrated with a big burger, fries and a beer. Micah was only 19 years old at the time of the trip and while they could legally drink alcohol back home in Canada they were not old enough to order a beer in Utah. Micah never one to take no for an answer helped themselves to some of my beer. I actually do not remember being asked if I minded!!!
Micah had to fly back home to go back to work in two days this meant that we did not have to head straight back to Salt Lake City. We had driven through Capitol Reef National Park on a previous trip to the area so on this trip we wanted to explore the park some more and do a little hiking. It was a two hour drive to our hotel just west of Hanksville, now called the Cathedral Valley Inn, but we planned to stop off first at Goblin Valley State Park which was about 1 hr 35 min from Moab. Besides having some very interesting geology Goblin Valley State Park is where the rock monster scene from the movie Galaxy Quest was filmed, so for us it was a must see.
The “goblins” are mushroom shaped rocks more commonly know as hoodoos which have been eroded Entrada Sandstone which forms a tall cliff that rises from the valley of the park. The goblins appear to be marching from the cliff across the floor of the valley. A quick summary of the geology of the park can be found at www.geology.com.
We should have arrived at the motel a little after 8 pm. Considering that we got up to watch the sunrise before 5 am it had a thrilling but long day.
We slept in a little but we had a full day planned. The plan was to do a small hike hike in Capitol Reef NP, enjoy some fresh backed pies in Fruita, then drive 4 hrs to Salt Lake City and eat dinner at our favourite Japaneses restaurant in Jordan Landing (which does not appear to be there anymore). Maybe a full day was not the best idea on the day after an exhausting trip. There was some snipping going on the hotel room and it was not most festive of moods when we loaded up the car. It was about a 20 minute drive to the trailhead for the Rim Overlook Trail. We hit the trail at about 10:25 am. For the most part we hiked apart alone in our thoughts.
Where we were hiking the dominate features where the massive cross-bedded sandstone domes of the Navajo Sandstone. The domes created by the weathering of the sandstone reminded early white travelers of the domes on many of the state capitol buildings thus giving the park the first part of its name, Capitol. The name Reef for the park refers to the San Rafael Reef that lies predominantly east of the park but shares similar geology. The name reef which which is typically a maritime word was given to the area because the eastern edge of the San Rafael Reef rises dramatically forming a barrier to travel as would ocean reef to ships.
As we walked it was curious the landscape was dotted with black volcanic boulders. Upon investigating once I got home I found out the boulders originated in volcanic fields to the south-west that top Boulder and Thousand Lakes Mountains. Compared to the 285 million year old Navajo Sandstone the lava flows are relatively young at just 25 – 30 million years old. Large landslide and debris flows transported the rocks across the park. Differential erosion of the softer sedimentary layers have left the boulders at varying heights across the park.
We finished the hike at 1:30 pm and headed to Fruita where we knew we could get freshly baked individual pies. We were eating pie less than 15 minutes after getting into the car.
We finished our pie at about 2 pm and headed back to the car as it was still about 3.5 hrs back to our hotel in Salt Lake City. I remember the first part of the drive being quite nice as we traveled up in altitude and passed through some heavily forested areas. Soon we arrived at Interstate 70, while quicker than the small roads we had been on the interstate was not as pleasant. When in Salt Lake City we always stay in Jordan Landing in south part of the city. There is a nice, reasonable hotel there, the Hampton Inn and Suites, with a convenient shopping/dinning/entertainment complex close by. We first started staying at the Hampton in 2010 when Micah competed in a speed skating event at the Utah Olympic Oval.
By 7 pm we were seated for dinner which involved the chief’s preparing the meal right at out table. The highlight was probably the shrimp tossing when the chief tosses a shrimp into the open mouths of the recipient.
The restaurant was definitely a great way to finish off the trip. There were smiles all round as we headed back to the hotel. This segment of our trip would conclude tomorrow when I dropped Micah off at the airport. Siobhan and I would hang out in Salt Lake City for the day before heading down to Zion NP to meet up with Laura and Alex for a trip that would take us from Las Vegas to Zion over to the Grand Canyon and then through Sedona finishing up with an NBA basketball game in Phoenix.