The visitor’s station is packed with tourists from one of the many bus tours, and after a rest, and a look at the gift shop, we drive onwards, past the Castle formation and the cliffs that turn redder and redder as we go. The cliffs are to the north, and plains marked with zig-zag fissures and cracks hide in the south awaiting their turn to become the next set of steps in a massive tall staircase that starts here and ends somewhere in the Grand Canyon.
It turns green again, and we turn south to Boulder, Utah, and run into the most unexpected thing yet – the Dixie National Forest. After seeing fields and scrubby trees, we are astounded by stands of pine and birch along these hillsides that would rival those of the White Mountains. We go up in altitude, and the temperature drops from the high 80’s to the mid 70’s, and a cool breeze is ever-present, gusting whenever I venture out of the car to take photos at the scenic overlooks. Here, we are in a forest, yet within view is the barren heat-blasted water pocket fold of Capitol Reef.