3 of the Mighty 5 - Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion National Parks
I am grateful for organizations which protect our environment. The National Parks Service is one of those organizations. There are 63 National Parks which is the highest classification. There are 423 sites under its prevue. In November 2022, I visited 3 of the National Parks in the state of Utah. The 5 National Parks are commonly referred to as the "Mighty 5".
I started my National Park exploration in Capitol Reef. One aspect of this park is the stargazing capability due to the remoteness of the park. While I wasn't able to get a good quality photo of the stars, they were amazing!
The Park is filled with cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges. The evidence of the holes in the rocks was proof of the power of water. My friend, Agnes, and I hiked about 4 miles along a dry riverbed on a cool, but beautiful blue sky day. We saw of the smallest squirrels I have ever seen - I was not convinced they were even squirrels. The elevation of Capitol Reef where we were is approximately 5,200' above sea level (asl).
Then we drove to Bryce Canyon and on the drive, we encountered snow. Snow on the hoodoos and arches looks amazing! This location is my first encounter with hoodoos which is an even better testament to the power of water and the durability of limestone and other rock sediments. Agnes and I chose to forego doing some of the steeper, more popular trails in large part due to the ice on the trails. At approximately 8,100' asl, the ice did not look to be melting soon.
Finally, we went to Zion National Park and it did not disappoint! Zion is in the top 5 most visited National Parks in the USA. In addition to the red rocks, canyons, desert, and Virgin river, we saw deer, bighorn sheep and wild turkeys - as Agnes mentioned, the turkeys must not have realized that the US Thanksgiving holiday was just a few days away. (Note: the traditional meal includes turkey.)