Friday, August 24, 2018

Fruita and petroglyphs and stuff

After visiting the alpaca ranch on Friday (August 10) we gave the children a tour of the "small stuff" around Capitol Reef National Park. None of us really felt like doing much hiking at that point in our trip anyway.

First we stopped by Panoramic Point for a picture:

Then we hit up the old Fruita school house:

The schoolhouse is from the late 1890s, though the peaked roof wasn't added until the early 1900s (before that it was simply a flat roof). It sits on land donated to the town by Elijah Cutler Behunin (more on him in a minute).

The kids had fun imagining walking out of their school door to this view every day:

Of course, the view the kids have really isn't terrible because our mountains are beautiful, but they had so much fun hiking that it was easy to imagine some pretty epic recesses. What was hard for us to imagine was that the schoolhouse was also the social center of the area and was used for balls and things. How?! It's so tiny! "Even though only eight families lived in Junction," the NPS tells us, "these farmers had large families." 

Mr. Behunin alone had thirteen children (and if you think the schoolhouse is small, wait until you see his house).

On the way to the Behunin Cabin we made a quick stop at the petroglyphs, where no one wanted me to take their picture. First Benjamin gave me this look when I asked him to smile:

Take two was much better:

And then Zoë refused to stand in the family picture (she was not, however, opposed to dancing around in the background):

Here's Alexander eating his hat:

And here's a little of the rock art we came to see:

And here we are, finally at the Behunin Cabin, where Elijah and Tabitha Behunin, along with eleven of their thirteen children, lived for a year (before they decided that the unforgiving landscape surrounding them was, well, too unforgiving, and moving to Fruita, which was a little more amenable to farm life):

It's a teeny, tiny place, though remarkably well-built. Only Mr. and Mrs. Behunin and their two youngest slept inside. The other nine children slept either in a rock alcove (the boys) or the box of their wagon(the girls)

Benjamin was particularly excited to find this little guy scuttling along the rock wall of the home:

On our way back from the Behunin cabin we stopped by the historic orchards of Fruita to pick some apples. You can sample fruit for free within the orchard or you can pay a small fee ($1/lbs. in this case) to pick as much as you want. It's an honour system—they just have a table with a scale and a donation box outside the gate—and it was lovely to see so many people using the honour system honestly (I sat in the van and nursed Alexander while Andrew took the rest of the kids into the orchard).

Zoë threw a fit while they were picking apples and I swear you could hear her a mile away (I could hear her from where I was). The problem was that she kept trying to put yucky apples from the ground into the bag of apples we intended to purchase and everybody kept stopping her (rude) so she just screamed at everyone.

Here she is looking a little more cheerful after I took her back into the orchard to pick an apple for herself:

And here's Alexander trying to enjoy an apple:

He didn't ever quite figure out how to bite through the skin so didn't find apples nearly as appealing as peaches. The apples were really quite yummy. They're ginger gold apples, which is a relatively new variety (so good thing they're in a historic orchard) and our kids like them because they don't go brown when they take them in their school lunches (we still have some on our counter that the kids have been taking).

Our very last stop of the day was the Goosenecks Overlook and Sunset Point. I didn't remember the Goosenecks being quite so terrifying in the past. Andrew pointed out that we didn't have Benjamin in the past (which is a good point). We made him and Zoë hold our hands the whole time.

My family looking down an 800 foot gorge
Here's a view of Sulphur Creek, approximately 800 feet below us:

Looking down that cliff makes me wonder how it feels to look down into the Grand Canyon, which is more than four times that deep (it seems unfathomable). Here are the girls staying away from the edge of the cliff:

Here's Andrew with Benjamin and Zoë by the edge of the cliff (don't worry—there's a very rickety fence to keep them from plummeting into the creek below (and we have pretty good luck when it comes to falling off cliffs in Sulphur Creek,'s fine)):

Look! I managed to get the girls to go stand by their dad:

And here's a quick shot of Alexander and me:

The Sunset Point trailhead shares a parking lot with the Goosenecks and it's a pretty short hike, so we made the kids do it even though some of them weren't so keen on the idea. Miriam and Zoë overcompensated for those with stinky attitudes by being overly good. Zoë kept saying, "I'm the only kid what's listening! I'm so good!" and Miriam was super cheerful about everything. 

"I'm the only one what's listening, Momma! I'm so good!"
Here is Miriam striking a scraggly dead-tree pose:

And here she is smiling at the end of the hike:

Here's Andrew:

Here's Rachel (I will leave it to you to guess whether she was a child with a stinky attitude or not):

Here she is kind of smiling:

Here's Zoë being somewhat cooperative:

And here's me, because I was there, too:

Here's Alexander going for a fun ride on Daddy's head:

The thing about out-and-back hikes is that if a hiker starts off with a bad attitude their attitude only worsens when you tell them that this "lame" view (which is the same view we saw everywhere else we hiked so why'd we even bother) was all you hiked out to see and now you just had to turn around and hike the trail in reverse.

Here's Rachel, Andrew, and Alexander across the ravine from Miriam, Zoë, and me:

Benjamin, you might have noticed, hasn't appeared in many pictures yet. He was in a particularly sour mood (which is honestly quite rare for this chipper little fellow) and refused to smile for the camera. He also refused to match Daddy's pace and likewise refused to walk as slow as Zoë needed to walk so he ended up walking by himself between our two parties.

Andrew hadn't realized, until I hollered at him to pause for the picture above, that Benjamin was no longer with him. I caught up with Benjamin, who had come to rest in the shade of this tree, and reminded him that he needed a hiking buddy...

He still refused to walk with anybody, being careful to keep far enough ahead of me that I couldn't catch up to him (at least not with Zoë in tow) and staying far enough behind Andrew. It wasn't so worrisome when I could see him on the trail, but sometimes he'd go around a bend and then I'd lose sight of him, which really worried me because sometimes these trails are hard to follow (they're just marked with cairns and things because it's hard to wear an easily readable trail into solid rock) and I worried a bit that he'd just wander off the trail (and then, you know, off an 800-foot cliff). So he definitely got a tongue-lashing about hiking safety when we'd all made it back to the vehicle.

Miriam, Zoë and I were the last ones to make it back (but we probably had the best time because none of us were sulking):

The ride back to the cabin was fairly quiet. I think the kids were all worn out (I know the grown ups were) and were looking forward to just relaxing at camp.


  1. That second picture of Benji looks like he could be Jason 33 years ago :)

  2. Wow, that's a bit surprising that Zoë was one of the kids with a good attitude on that hike! Good for her!