October 2, 2016 Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

To give you some sort of scale of reference, some of those pines in the image above are sixty or seventy feet tall. The rock colors here at Capitol Reef National Park make this place a photographer’s, and an artist’s, dream. And those rock colors change with the sun’s position above and may well appear completely different in the afternoon than they did in the morning.

Capitol Reef Boondocking Campsite
Capitol Reef Boondocking Campsite

Since the park’s campground was full, and quite honestly, not a place I would want to stay in anyhow, I drove about eight miles south of the Visitor’s Center and headed just a little way up Notom Road to this wonderful boondocking campsite, one of the nicest I have ever found. Only negative was that there was no Verizon signal out here, not really any great surprise to me. Directly in front of the motorhome and also to it’s left, there is a steep drop of about a hundred feet of more …

Capitol Reef Boondocking Campsite
Capitol Reef Boondocking Campsite

… and imagine waking up each morning to this 360 degree view! Not to mention, the night time sky. This is one of the best spots in the USA to star gaze.

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

This was my first extended stay at Capitol Reef and when the weather was good, I really enjoyed exploring the park’s limited road system.

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

The main road through the park is a two lane paved road about eight or nine miles long, with many turnouts along the way to take in the scenery.

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park

The colors are astounding at times and the rock formations quite spectacular.

Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park

Then there are three gravel side roads that take you deeper into the canyons, and these give you a dramatic closeup view of the sheer rock walls.

Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park

They also give you some great opportunities to get up real close and personal with the ofttimes unbelievable colors and textures of the canyon walls.

Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park

It looks as if the the rock has melted and run down the canyon wall.

Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Walls, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park
Canyon Wall, Capitol Reef National Park

These dirt roads are passable for any small regular passenger car, though there are restrictions for larger vehicles. They are a bit rough in places and can get pretty dusty, and since they pass through several dry washes, they can become impassable, and thus get closed, when it rains. And unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to me while I was there … it rained, and hard at times so these side roads into the canyons were closed, persuading me to move on to Bryce Canyon National Park. But this is one National Park I will want to revisit in the future, if for nothing else than for that great boondocking spot.

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September 29, 2016 Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison

Three Days on Antelope Island

Antelope Island Bison
Campground Hazard

At Gros Ventre Campground in the Tetons I had moose wandering through the campsite and here at Antelope Island there are bison passing through. Pays to check wildlife conditions before stepping out the door these days … and I am certainly not complaining about that!

Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island Viewpoint
Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island Viewpoint

This is a panoramic view of the northwest side of the island taken from above the Bridger Campground where I am camped.

The Bridger Campground where I am staying is one of the nicer primitive state park campgrounds I have ever run into. No hookups, but with water and a dump station just a little way from the campground. Mostly nice level pull through sites with nice separation and a great view out over the Great Salt Lake. A large concrete pad with picnic table, fire ring, and shade cabana come with every site. Good Verizon signal and no trees to interfere with satellite reception. Unfortunately, all but two sites are reservable, so weekend stays are all but out of the question, unless you plan a year in advance.

Bison on the Beach
Bison on the Beach
Yellow Flower in Rock
A Survivor!

Got a kick out of this lone flower proudly laying claim to the top of of this rock.

Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison

Sitting low in the Prius, these male bison can seem more than a little intimidating.

Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison

No arguing with these guys over right-of-way on the roads throughout the park.

Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison

Last time I was here all the bison were down on the south end of the island, this time around they all, as in several hundred, seem to be up on the north end, where the campgrounds are located. A fire burned large portions of the southern end of the island and perhaps that is why they are all up here this year. A small group of seven or eight bulls were hanging around, and in, the campground the first two nights I was here, providing many opportunities for closeup shots. But it is a little unnerving to step out your door and have a bison’s butt just fifteen feet away, leaning against your shade cabana’s roof support post.

Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison

I could actually hear this guy groaning as he scratched an itch, must have just hit the spot for him.

Antelope Island Bison
Antelope Island Bison
Magpie and Bison
Magpie and Bison

This guy was rubbing his side against the picnic table shelter’s supporting post, and the whole structure was shaking.

Magpie and Bison
Magpie and Bison

The magpies must be harvesting insects, perhaps ticks, from the bison. They must dig a little deep and cause some pain as I saw the bison trying to shake them off each time they would land.

Antelope Island Pronghorn
Antelope Island Pronghorn

Pronghorns and mule deer also roam the island.

Antelope Island Mulie Bucks
Antelope Island Mulie Bucks

This small group of mulie bucks were grazing a distant hillside at dusk one evening, but I just couldn’t get any closer to get any good shots. Pretty impressive rack on the one closest.

Avocets
Avocets

There are thousands of ducks and coots on the lake feeding on brine shrimp and algae, and hundreds of avocets and other small waders patrolling the water’s edge for brine flies. Because of the extreme salinity, there are no fish in the Great Salt Lake.

Feeding Ducks
Feeding Ducks
Threatening Skies Over Antelope Island
Threatening Skies Over Antelope Island

This is a view of the shallow waters on the east side of the island looking towards the hustle and bustle of the greater Salt Lake City corridor.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

My last night here, a storm moved in from the south, and the sky blackened as the sun was setting in the west creating some wonderful light conditions over the water.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

With the sun still shining on the western part of the island and with rain squalls and winds coming up the east side of the island, conditions were ripe for a rainbow and I got to watch as it formed.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

The sky turned all kind of weird colors, from grey to green to almost red/yellow as the sun sank lower and the storm advanced. I wish I could have taken more shots of this dramatic weather event, but I was rushing home to close windows I had left open, not knowing it was supposed to storm like this.

Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island
Storm Brewing Over Antelope Island

All in all, a pretty spectacular last night of my stay on Antelope Island.

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October 2, 2013 Shut Out of Teton National Park

SmallRV andToadMooseOn the Road Heading South to Espanola, New Mexico

Left Gros Ventre CG around 9 AM, skies clear today and you can actually see the tops of the Tetons for the first time today, YEA for the government shutdown!!

The Grand Tetons
The Grand Tetons

Who in their right mind would want to stay here and tour the National Park on such a gorgeous fall day as this?

The trip south on Route 191 was a very pleasant trip with interesting scenery for the most part, not much traffic and mostly good road. I had planned to stay at a private campground in Vernal, Wyoming, but passed it by when it turned out to be located right in the heart of the city’s commercial strip. That was around 5 PM so it left me only two hours of daylight to find another place to stop. I didn’t find one so ended up pulling off the side of the road somewhere short of Roosevelt, Utah, for the night. Got no sleep since an 18 wheeler decided to pull in and run his diesel all night right next to me.