Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Touring "Wayne Wonderland"

Torrey, Utah, is now our home base for touring "Wayne Wonderland."

To reach Wonderland, we headed east on Route 24, about 11 miles past the intersection with the famous Route 12 Scenic Byway (the subject of more than one recent entry).

Small trees and grasses comprised the greater part of the vegetation present in the sandy, stoney earth.

The rock formations leading to the Visitor Center were mostly massive, red-brown walls of sandstone and siltstone.

If this had been the 1920s, we might have been welcomed by local boosters Ephraim P. Pectol and Joseph S. Hickman, who had named the park.

We passed this pair of rocks on pedestals. Aptly named Twin Rocks, they could have been identified without any brochure assistance.

On August 2, 1937, President Roosevelt set aside 37,711 acres of the Capitol Reef area, making it a National Monument. After years of proposals, a bill to establish The Capitol Reef National Park was signed into law by President Nixon on December 18, 1971.

The photo (left) was taken at Panorama Point with the shell of an old tree combining with the sandstone walls in the background.

Near the trail leading to Panorama Point is Chimney Rock (below). Capitol Reef National Park comprises 378 square miles of colorful canyons, ridges, buttes, and monoliths. About 75 miles of the long up-thrust called the Waterpocket Fold, extending like a rugged spine from Thousand Lake Plateau southward to Lake Powell, is preserved within the park boundary.

A stop at the Visitor Center for maps, and we headed south on the Scenic Drive--a 10-mile road into the Park. We turned onto the Grand Wash Spur Road about two miles into the Park. The first stop was the Oyler Mine. The two dark spots in the lower center of the photo (just above the grasses) are openings to the mine that produced some of the richest uranium ore in the Capitol Reef area.

A short distance away is the Cassidy Arch, named after Butch Cassidy. (Nearby Circleville was his hometown.) In the upper left quadrant of the photo (right) are two arches indicating the area where Cassidy was believed to have hidden from lawmen.

We continued down the Grand Wash gravel road. All the printed information noted that this was a maintained road, and they were correct.

It was an easy drive with a good amount of space for two cars to pass.

There were observation points, but we were able to simply stop in the road and take photos. The colors of this sheet wall were striking and

a closer look revealed even more interesting colors and depth.

From the sights we saw today, the "wonder" of the geological formations was certainly present.

I now understood the history behind the name of our RV Park--Wonderland Resort.

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