capitol reef

capitol reef national park feels like such a hidden gem! so remote, so empty, so majestic. we explored just a little corner of the park and are excited to go back again some day.

the hike to hickman natural bridge was a perfect adventure for our family. we only saw a handful of other people on the trail and it felt like we had all this beauty to ourselves! moses was, as you can see, very into practicing some karate moves along the way.

the destination of the hike – such a cool arch! the first photo below is taken by moses 😉

we got back to the car just as the darkness of night came encroaching. the golden hour light along our way back to the trailhead was amazing.

capitol reef – particularly in the winter – is so remote and uncrowded that there are zero open eating establishments in the vicinity. that night we had a nice smorgasbord dinner of things i could cobble together from the gas station convenience store, haha! it was our last night in a motel and we were excited to get home and to our own beds.

the next morning we drove a dirt road that goes through an isolated part of the park, and there were zero other cars on the road. we were completely wrapped up in wonderous natural beauty. i stuck my head out of the sunroof as long as i could stand the cold wind! it was really stunningly gorgeous.

we headed out of the park (past “the castle” rock formation, which is so cool!) and back onto super snowy roads. thankfully the road conditions improved after a while and we made it home safe to provo.

what an epic christmas roadtrip! all credit goes to ian for planning everything. i was reluctant to make all these stops with all these kids but our family adventures in so much beauty turned out to be worth all the (tremendous) effort.


  1. Just wonderful – the colors are incredible, so cool that each area seems to have its own hue. The yellows in these photos when the sun is hitting the rock are just stunning. I’m so glad you are loving the new adventures back in the USA, especially the time with family but always the time with each other! Scenery may change, but the players are the same and that is a joy.


  2. Another hidden gem among Utah parks is Fish Lake National Forest. It is home to Pando – the world’s largest living organism. I’ll post the links to pictures and info – it is so beautiful in late September/early October. I think Moses would really enjoy learning about it. It, too, is a ways away, but totally worth the time.

    Pando – (I Spread)
    When the Pando clone was discovered, scientists named it with a Latin word that means “I spread.” Pando is an aspen clone that originated from a single seed and spreads by sending up new shoots from the expanding root system.

    Pando is believed to be the largest, most dense organism ever found at nearly 13 million pounds. The clone spreads over 106 acres, consisting of over 40,000 individual trees. The exact age of the clone and its root system is difficult to calculate, but it is estimated to have started at the end of the last ice age. Some of the trees are over 130 years old. It was first recognized by researchers in the 1970s and more recently proven by geneticists. Its massive size, weight, and prehistoric age have caused worldwide fame.

    Located in central Utah on the Fishlake National Forest, Pando is approximately 1 mile southwest of Fish Lake on State Highway 25. In the summer the green, fluttering leaves symbolize the relief from summer’s heat that you get coming to the basin. In autumn the oranges and yellows of the leaves as they change color give a hint of the fall spectacular that is the Fish Lake Basin.

    Visitors from many states, as well as other nations have travelled to central Utah to see and experience Pando, especially during the fall season when the leaves turn to yellow and orange. In 2006 the U.S. Postal Service honored the Pando Clone as one of the “40 Wonders of America” with a stamp in its commemoration.

    Specialists are concerned with Pando however, because the clone is showing signs of decline. There are two reasons thought to be the cause of this decline. They are a lack of regeneration, along with insects and disease.

    Well, I’m having a terrible time trying to get pictures on here, but simply search “Pando.” We collected a few leaves with the intention of doing a collage; that didn’t happen, but I did laminate a few of them! And every picture we took is fabulous!


  3. Completely understand that you are trying to catch up / get your photos organized, but I would love for you to rekindle your 10 thought on a Wednesday (or xday) posts or more reflective posts, if you have time / feel like it – I used to be very inspired by your expressing thought and feelings. 🙂


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