The Juniper should be the state tree of Utah and this gnarly but beautiful survivor in an often inhospitable terrain is a perfect symbol for a state settled by like-wise strong people who worked hard and suffered many hardships. This hardy tree is among the most common in inter-mountain areas in the western United States. They are particularly pretty when found growing in what seem unlikely rocky outcroppings, often withered to near horizontal positions from the winds they withstand.
It seems that Mormon's have a bit of a sense of humor when you look at some of the names they gave to the various rock formations doting the Capitol Reef National Park landscape. The one that was particularly amusing was Molly's Nipple. Obviously, a nipple is an easy enough thing to see in many stony hills but this one has got such good detail it's hard to see much else. Ok, maybe the multiple wife thing was getting to me.
The Navajo called this area The Land of the Sleeping Rainbow which is far more poetic than Capitol Reef and probably describes the plethora of colors you will see better too. Red rocks are thus as they contain hematite or ocher which is basically rust or iron oxide. Even a small percentage of this compound can make a rock brilliantly red. The Moenkopi Formation on the Scenic Drive is a great example of this.
Capitol Reef National Park is one of the most affordable of all the western National Parks to visit. In fact, if you do not care to drive the scenic road parallel to the Waterpocket Fold its free but that would be doing yourself and the park service an injustice. For a mere $5 per car load you can drive along “a wrinkle” on the Earth's surface as the park so eloquently puts it. It is a colorful wrinkle at that and ends in a beautiful canyon you can walk further into. But if you have not the time or money for such things, Route 24 runs the width of the park past some pretty spectacular scenery in its own right.
Parking at trail heads for the underrated hikes in the park is free too. The Visitor Center: free. Back country camping: free. No one asks for a dime unless you want to camp at Fruita or do the Scenic Drive. Ten and five dollars respectively. Those are prices you won't see at any other National Park, at least not in Utah. We were traveling with our America The Beautiful Pass which allows a car load of people into all National Parks and Federally administered Lands for a period of one year for $80. If that ain't a good deal, I don't know what is.
The orchards were planted by the original white settlers to this green river valley. When the land became a park the orchards came with it. The Park service has maintained and continued the orchards as part of the park experience. If you come during harvest you can pick your own fruit.