On Valentine's Day this year, we bought a national parks pass. I thought we'd use it a couple times, enough to make it worth the cost. But then we came up with the plan of going to every national park in Utah this year. Greg knows my love for a plan. I like to say, "I can make anything happen, as long as you tell me in advance." So one day, he typed up his annual plan. Almost every week had something he wanted to do- some super simple and others rather complicated. He had planned out the year so that we had a timeline to visit all of the national parks. The last visit would be a camping trip in October to visit Capitol Reef. After we got pregnant and tried to figure out a baby moon, a lot of other things got put on the back burner.
But last weekend, we made it happen! We went to Capitol Reef. It's probably been our most spur-of-the-moment trip we've had. We didn't take any time off from work, and I reserved the camping cabin only 2 days before we were there (which is rather atypical of me). We went to the grocery store the night before and we ended up leaving half our meals at home on accident, so we had to wing it. I think I should get an award for being so chill while pregnant. I'm working on my spontaneity. :)
So we drove down Friday night after work. A lot of the drive was dark but the moon was full and really low, so it actually lit up the landscape around us as we drove. We were on very small roads but Greg is a champion driver and he dodged all the deer. We were lucky to reserve a camping cabin. Unbeknownst to me, the elevation is very high in that area of the state and it was actually about 20 degrees colder there than it was in SLC that weekend. We were planning to camp in our tent, but I'm so glad Greg suggested the cabins because it was a dream to have 4 walls, a roof, and a heater. I thought we could just camp in the tent and save money, but Greg said, "I need my wife and baby to be comfortable. So the cabin it is." It was very sweet.
The next morning we went off-roading for the first half of the day. A lot of the park is only accessible via small dirt roads so it was to explore. The trails were a bit more tame than what we experienced in Moab, but my belly wasn't mad about it. Actually, the day before I had a lot of nausea and I ended up having to leave work. I was worried that I wouldn't feel better for the trip and certainly wouldn't be able to handle the bumpy roads. But Greg re-routed our off-road course to be a bit shorter and luckily I felt fine.
There was hardly anyone in the north part of the park. We drove for hours and only saw one other vehicle (that was lost). We thought the park would be much more busy, but it must not be too popular because we didn't ever have to show our park pass. Crazy!
In the afternoon, we headed back down south to the visitors center. The town of Fruita is in the park and there are pioneer homesteads and fruit orchards. On the day we were visiting, they had a town harvest celebration that was really fun. We got to sample freshly squeezed apple juice, and we shared a homemade pie with fresh peaches and old-fashioned ice cream (I couldn't pick a flavor so I ordered all 3. Eating for two! I love this game.). We got to listen to a folk band and hear a ranger talk about the area. There were craft demos too. Greg and I stopped at the quilting one and they taught us how to do English paper piecing, which I've always wanted to learn. I also ran into an old friend from college who now lives in the area, so it was fun to catch up with him.
On our way back to camp, we strolled through the orchards and took pictures of deer roaming through. When we got back, Greg made our fire and cooked our tinfoil dinners. We shared smores and eavesdropped on the conversations happening next to our cabin at the other fires. It was a perfect Saturday. And I'm so glad we made time to get there.