The weather in central Utah over the weekend had rain in the forecast every day, making any hiking out of the question. So on Friday we invited Steve and Mona Liza to join us for a Jeep ride out to Cathedral Valley. We drove east on UT-24 eleven miles from the visitor center in Capitol Reef NP. There we turned north on a well-maintained dirt road called Caneville Wash Road, which soon turns into Cathedral Road.
Colorful rocks were visible in every direction despite the overcast day.
After 15 miles on Cathedral Road we turned left and drove one mile to visit Glass Mountain. Glass Mountain is not really a mountain, it is a geologic formation consisting of large gypsum crystals forming a mound or plug 15 feet high. Gypsum was deposited as sea water evaporated 165 million years ago and then buried under other sediments. The gypsum migrated upwards through fractures in the sediments forming layers and, very rarely, domes like the Glass Mountain.
Not far from Glass Mountain are two large rock formations, the Temple of Sun and the Temple of the Moon. The two monoliths are composed of the earthy, buff-pink Entrada Sandstone.
We continued west on Cathedral Road while enjoying more beautiful views all around us.
About nine miles further down the road we came to the Gypsum Sinkhole. The Gypsum Sinkhole is an occurrence formed by the reverse of the process that created Glass Mountain. Here groundwater is dissolving a buried gypsum plug. The cavity left behind has collapsed under the weight of overlying rock layers. This collapse has created a large sinkhole nearly 50 feet in diameter and 200 feet deep.
About five miles further west we came to our final destination, the Morrell Line Cabin. There is no parking area for this site but there is room for one vehicle in a pull-off on the right side of the road. Then it is a short hike up a path to the cabin.
Inside the little cabin is a table that still has many items remaining from the time it was used by cowboys.
As we left the cabin some dark clouds began to approach from over the mountains to the west. Then the wind kicked up creating some dust clouds that cut down on our visibility as we drove east back toward the highway.
But the rain held off until we returned to the highway. We arrived back at the RV park with no weather problems, a perfect ending to a great day.
Later that evening we met friends, Larry and Annette, for dinner at The Saddlery Cowboy Bar, a very nice restaurant and bar here in Torrey. Larry and Annette lived full-time in a motorhome for many years before settling down in Torrey. They were the source of inspiration for us to buy a motorhome ourselves and go on the road. This is the third time we have been in Torrey and enjoy meeting with them when we are in the area.
The weather forecast for the next few days calls for clear skies and warm temperatures. So the nimble hiker is dusting off her hiking books and planning some new adventures. More on that later . . .