Our home for the next few days was Thousand Lakes RV Resort ($36.45/night with Good Sam’s) just outside of Torrey, Utah. Torrey has a population of 180 with median household income of $47,369. It’s a good place to anchor for day trips to surrounding areas.
The weather was a little unpredictable with snow and flurries on higher elevations and warmer weather in the valleys. That didn’t slow us down one bit. An interesting thing happened at the Torrey Trading Post. As we were leaving, after a very long day, we were approached by two ladies from the local paper. They talked to us about our visit and took our photo for the paper. It was a nice exchange. Almost famous!
The first day we visited the Fruita Mormon settlement and the Fremont area of the Capitol Reef Park. The Mormons settled the area near the juncture of Fremont River and Sulfur Creek in 1880. The group was led by Nels Johnson and originally called the settlement “Junction.” The name was changed in 1902-1904 to Fruita because of the large orchards that were established by the Mormons on the Fremont River. The town was abandoned after World War II with just a few buildings remaining. This is a beautiful area with large herds of mule deer and Petroglyphs. If you’ve been following my blog you know I love petroglyphs.
We rode out to the Grand Wash Trail, a nice trail that weaves in and out of a dry river bed or wash, known as the Waterpocket fold. We took the Grand Wash Road, a winding dirt and rock road out to the trail head. The trail is about 2.2 miles one way but well worth it. It’s rated as an easier trail but it is rocky and uneven. Make sure to take a lot of water as it was 89 degrees while we were there this month. Make sure to watch for rains as there are flash floods anytime and the trail runs on a wash. There are petroglyphs and pioneer records on the walls in areas of this trail. I thoroughly enjoyed this hike and was invigorated when finished. The down side as I see it was the total disrespect for the petroglyphs as modern vandals (no other word for it) have ruined many of them by carving their names and dates. Too bad.
Our next adventure was the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This area is one of the most remote in the United States and dinosaur fossils are still being found near there. The latest was found in 2013 and has been dated as 75 million years old. Human settlers have been in the area since the Basketmaker era AD 500. The first white settlers was Captain James Andrus in 1866, when he led group of cavalry to the headwaters of the Escalante River. The Mormons on the 1879 San Juan Expedition passed through the Monument, answering the call to start colonies in southeastern Utah. We visited the Hole-In-The-Rock Museum and it was fascinating.
Some of the roads in the Monument were closed due to late snows but we enjoyed what we could see.
This was a marvelous adventure and I recommend visiting this area. Next up: Kanab, Utah… Bryce Canyon and Zion…. Stay tuned!