Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Post Moab Traumatic Stress Disorder

It was Mother's Day, and Mother Nature was trying to tell us to stay put in Moab - gale force winds swept up the valley, rocking the Whale on its suspension, blowing chairs around, kicking up swirling clouds of sand and dust. But, after making Nancy her special breakfast of biscuits with sausage gravy...

...we obstinately stuck to our schedule, and pulled out onto the open road. The inherent stability of Gigantor's ample hips kept us on track even when buffetted by 50mph broadside gusts. We pushed on westward through vast wastelands and dust storms, getting the worst fuel economy of our trip as we shouldered our way into the headwind. We motored straight through Capitol Reef National Park where, as we entered the massive folds of earth it was 80 degrees, and 30 minutes later when we exited on the west side it was 70. Along the way we stopped to walk the dogs. They swam in a rushing stream, after which Kinsey had herself a dust bath (she hates to be white!):

We made camp in the small town of Torrey. The temperatures plummetted overnight, and over the next two days oscillated between 32 and 45, with wind, rain, snow and, occasionally, sun. It seemed that whenever it showed signs of clearing and we prepared to go for a hike, but the time we got ready to go a new squall would blow through and drive us back inside. But we did make it out a couple of times, heading into Capitol Reef NP:

Around town we spotted this unique vehicle, a German utility truck converted into an all-terrain camper:

The website stenciled on the door tells the story of the Two Vagabonds.

The next day was really cold, windy and rainy. Then it began to snow - giant flakes that quickly coated the landscape:

I thought that our chances of having a proper hike in the park were ruined, but after dinner the skies had cleared and the snow had melted. We dashed over to the Grand Wash and hiked amongst the magnificent towers of rock:

All around were the browns, beiges and grays of rock and sandstone, punctuated with the greens of junipers and pine. So when a small, struggling wildflower blooms in this unforgiving environment, it really stands out:

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