This was another long driving day, so I apologize in advance if this post is picture heavy and drags on. After leaving Natural Bridges National Monument, I finally got a chance to see the scenic beauty I missed by driving in at night. And also how vast and desolate it was. Perhaps one car every ten or fifteen minutes drove by. But the road was very well maintained; a strip of black through a colorful landscape.
I crossed the Colorado River for the first time this trip at Lake Powell. Or, I should say what is normally Lake Powell. At full capacity the reservoir continues under the bridge and into the canyon to the left, but recent droughts have taken their toll.
One of the nice things about driving in the middle of nowhere is you can go fast, very fast. So it didn't take me long to reach Hanksville. From there I initially planned to head north to Goblin State Park and onward to Arches National Park. Instead I followed the advice of a fellow traveller and headed west to Capitol Reef National Park. The park protects a long and narrow ridge of mountains formed by tectonic plate collision. I thought it was named reef because of the colorful rocks, but it actually refers to it being a barrier to travel. Even though the park received sporadic thunderstorms the rocks were still lit with warm light.
Getting into the valley required yet another long drive. At several points the road crossed through washes, temporary rivers that form after storms. Of course, as I left a thunderstorm rolled through. I came to the last wash crossing, one that was dry less then ten minutes before, and found myself blocked by a small flash flood. I played it safe and waited with several other cars.