Friday, November 5, 2010

The Burr Trail Road

My night at Bolder Lodge was so nice I scheduled two more nights. The lodge is at a fork, so I decided to take one of the back roads to see what I could find... I would not be disappointed.  If you have not heard of the Burr Trail Road you are most likely not alone, I did knot know of it until my GPS announced that I was actually traveling on it. This in itself was not much of a surprise because most roads are poorly marked along the route 12 corridor. What is surprising are the fabulous sites along the trail. I found myself stopping often. The images that follow are representative of the unique formations and vistas that occur along the way.
Portions of the trail are paved and other segments give way to dirt. I am glad for the 4-wheel drive of my trusty Subaru Outback. This car has been a good and reliable partner for me on this trip.
The landscape colors become more red as I wind my way down into what appears to be an ever narrowing canyon, soon I am driving next to steep walls on a bumpy dirt road, to my left is a dry gully.

There is much to see and not another car in sight. The day is warm and sunny and I am beckoned to stop and explore. I don't even pull of to the side as I am truly alone out here.

The next series of shots, I hope will give you a sense of the surreal atmosphere of this place.
It feels as though spirits occupy this land and I want to be respectful of how and where I walk. Prairie Dogs dart from hole to hole, buzzards, drift on currents high above me looking for a meal. This canyon is so quiet I can only hear the noise in my head that occurs when there is no external sound to overwhelm the inner dialogue. I guess it is the result of many years of living in the ever present cacophony of city life. 
Silence, I find, can be surprisingly loud when it is first encountered. However, it doesn't take long before I become comfortable and relax in the bigger quiet of this place. It is after all a joy to be here.


As I slowly continue down the road small slot canyons appear across the gully and evidence of torrent flooding is clearly marked in the arrangement of the rocks and the shapes in the walls. I am compelled to stop and explore all the cracks in the cliffs. I am glad I did, as I explore small openings that expand into rooms of color and light carved by 10,000 years of raging flood waters.

The glowing light of the slot canyon offers sublime color and geometric forms that dazzle the eye. I am awed by the extreme values and shapes. The sandy floor has no foot prints and I feel that I am the first human to step into this natural temple.

 In this shot is a series of holes carved by wind and rain create a depth of frail forms in the natural architecture of the wall.

I am aware of the extreme cleanliness of the slot, clearly nature is taking good care of it. I will leave it as pristine as I found it. 

Even in the depth of the slot canyon one finds new life growing, small trees compete for the limited light and water on the canyon floor.

Exiting the slot reveals water stained rocks and a sheer cliff face.

Soon I am back in the car and moving on to the next wonder. Slot canyons give way to rock piles of fantastic form. Towers of stones one piled on the next reaching for the sky.

 Most interesting are the balanced large rocks sitting on smaller ones. This place starts to resemble a chess set filled with interesting pieces.

Continuing down the road, I see the pillars give way to an up hill climb. The steep walls lower and the view opens up to a vista. So much fascinating landscape hidden away on a small road that leads to the southeast corner of Capitol Reef National Park. This is where the dirt road dead ends in a landscape devoid of people, untouched and unspoiled.

Hours are spent walking amidst the monuments to nature. Again I am aware of the deafening silence but for the wind whispering between the rocks and the sounds I am making with my camera. Click on the images to see them full size.

The day passes quickly in this place, I am getting hungry and soon will need to start back.

On my return the road appears different, so much to see coming and going... The lodge is calling me now and I realize that I won't see it all on this trip.

A small stream that was missed when entering offers late afternoon light.

A free range steer makes an appearance, then I am home again to the view of the pond from my balcony. Getting ready for dinner I know a great meal awaits. I could not have had a better day then this one. I feel blessed and wonder what the road will present next?