Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood. —Henry Miller
When you turn off Interstate 15, north of Las Vegas, and drive eastward to Valley of Fire State Park, you will at first wonder what all the fuss was about, the glowing reports you’ve heard of fantastic shapes and colors sprayed across the rocky landscape; as you start, the scenery is unrelentingly boring for mile upon mile. Browns, grays, and duller.
Don’t let that stretch of highway fool you. You’ll finally round a corner, about 25 miles out from the freeway, where your surprise will be sudden and complete. From there , it’s all unlimited discovery.
We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so. —Theodore Roosevelt
After our rewarding stopover in Delta, Ulrich and I angled southeast, to Capitol Reef National Park and Cathedral Valley.
We made an early start from Duke’s Campground in Hanksville the next morning, driving west on State Route 24 to Cathedral Valley Road, near Caineville. We weren’t making the entire loop tour, only the fifteen or so miles out to The Temples of the Sun and Moon, but it was slow-going due to frequent World Class Washboarding. I parked near the Temples barely five minutes before direct sunlight began spilling into the valley.
Befitting its name, the valley was q-u-i-e-t, and it was all ours. Shouldering our tripods, we wandered pleasantly until the light lost its edge and shadows began to recede. I cooked bacon and scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast then, and was cleaning dishes when the first Jeep tour arrived.
The washboards felt even worse on the return leg, so I took it easy and stopped several times for pictures. Back in Hanksville, we ate lunch at Blondie’s before continuing south on Highway 95.
Photographed in a canyon near the tiny town of Bluff, Utah.
Geologists have a saying – rocks remember.