Our Vie Adventures consists of Cees, Madison, Vladimir the Kitten, and a 1989 Toyota Motorhome named Vie. Cees and Madison are on the road, living the dream of every outdoor-minded couple by visiting each national park in the country over the course of the year. In celebration of our National Parks centennial, we’ve partnered with Cees and Madison to bring you stories and photos of their yearlong quest (and of course, plenty of #vladimirkitten along the way).
Keep scrolling to see Cees, Madison, and Vladimir’s visit to Capitol Reef National Park, UT. Stay tuned to Downstream for updates on their adventures and follow them on Instagram (@ourvieadventures) for more frequent updates from the road.
Capitol Reef is Utah’s best kept secret. We had a BLAST exploring the park. From the mellow grassy areas in the Fruita Historical District to the rugged hikes up to Cassidy Arch, it was all outstanding. And the best part is, it wasn’t crowded at all. Yeah we know, the more we tell everyone, “there weren’t any crowds!” that soon people will flock and the crowds will be. But you know, I am okay with that. I think that more people in our National Parks is a good thing.
The drive from Bryce Canyon was definitely one to remember. All along the road there were epic pullouts. Some of them were so cool we had to stop and run to the top. This also kept my foot from cramping up due to lack of cruise control.
Once in the park, we hit the Fruita District first. Early settlers planted all kind of fruit trees in this little oasis. When the fruit is ripe, visitors can pick as much fruit as they want – FOR FREE! We were too early for the fruit, but we still hung out under the trees and just relaxed. We staked the kitty out on his leash so he could chase lady bugs while Madison and I read our books and took a little nap in the sun. It was really nice.
After our little relaxation moment, we walked across the orchard, and past a herd of deer to the Petroglyph Wall. I guess these deer come down to eat the fruit that falls. I heard from the ranger that because the deer hang out down there, they occasionally lure mountain lions into the orchard! So when you visit, beware of little kitties chasing bugs, and big kitties chasing deer.
The Petroglyphs were AWESOME. They are can be really hard to see agains the orange/pink rocks. The walkway the park has established keeps you a ways back; I guess they don’t want people messing with them. They do have mounted binoculars that you can see them through which is nice.
Extra credit if you can see the herd of goats! I thought they were the coolest of them all! It’s so neat to see the stories these people were trying to preserve.
After we left the petroglyphs, we drove out the see the Goosenecks and catch the sunset at Sunset Point. It was cool to see the meanders of the Fremont River from above. The river at that point is not much more than a little trickle, but it has done some serious work! The little stream has down cut over 300 feet of rock! Pretty impressive for a little guy.
Sunset point was incredible. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole park. The colors that the lower light would create were breathtaking. It was almost like the whole scene was painted on. We had fun bouncing around on the rocks and just playing in the light.
After watching the sun set, we ran into some Russians in the park! It was awesome. It was so fun to speak some Russian again. Andre and Olya are here for a few weeks exploring the beautiful parks of Utah. We walked down the trail for a while and then had them into Our Vie for some tea. They LOVED the kitten. Well, mainly they loved that we call him Vladimir and that he speaks/we speak to him in Russian.
We had a pretty mellow Sunday; we like to take Sundays as our rest days. We hung out, caught up on some emails and made grumpy faces at our computers.
Monday morning we hit it hard again. We met up with our friend Becky and set out to hike the best of Capitol Reef. We decided to try and combine a few popular hikes together for one massive hike. We linked up The Grand Wash, Cassidy Arch, The Frying Pan, and Cohab Canyon for a full day!
The desert varnish (the black streaks on the cliff) give so much character to some of these walls. We came around the corner and saw this beautiful chunk of rock and we all just marveled. These are the moments when I feel like I belong in the desert. I love it.
After the hike, we were all dirty, sweaty, and overheated. So we decided to run up the river a ways and get in the water. We rescued the kitty from the RV and took him along. He hated it. I carried him out to one of the rocks in the middle of the river and he just pawed at me to take him back. Boring. I wanted him to swim! I brought him to some closer rocks and he tried to jump to shore – but right as he jumped, he slipped and went in! He ended up having to swim for about one kitty cat body length. Needless to say, he didn’t talk to me for the rest of the afternoon. He then went on to roll his wet self in the orange sand to further prove his anger. We were cooled off, but we had an angry orange kitty to deal with.
After our swim we drove back to the Fruita historical district to get some fresh fruit pie – but we were five minutes late! Readers be warned – if you want amazing pie, show up before 5:00 PM! I had been telling Madison how good this pie was, and then we totally failed and didn’t get any. SO SAD. Oh well, another reason to come back!
A highlight of the trip was making the scenic drive. It is really awe inspiring to drive next to these cliffs. One of our cousins said at our graduation, “Utah makes me feel small.” It really is true! These walls just make you feel so tiny. We highly recommend the scenic drive – good times and good vibes.
We wanted to get a jump start on our drive to eastern parks of Utah (Canyonlands and Arches) so we figured instead of sleeping another night in Capitol Reef, that we would just hit the road and spend the night wherever we got tired. It was a pretty epic drive – lots of cool landmarks. We stopped at a cool view of Factory Butte.
In Hanksville, we got some gas and some propane. We were super hungry at the time, so we were in and out of the gas station as fast as we could to get across the street to get a burger at Blondies (Apparently it is world famous). I can now say for myself – the burgers were really good.
Then, to quote Madison, “The most horrible, awful, unspeakable thing almost happened. So, we were filling up gas in Hanksville (middle of freaking nowhere Utah) and our little escape artist kitty somehow got out. We always brag about how he never runs away, but this time he did. We didn’t notice he had even gotten out and we went to dinner across the street for over an hour. When we came back to the RV, we looked inside and waited for his little, “mow” that he always does when we come back…nothing. Within seconds we knew he wasn’t there and we started to panic. We booked it back to the gas station (thousands of horrible thoughts going through my head) only to find him waiting for his hoomans right in front of the gas station store. It was a miracle!!!! We are SO happy to have him back and safe with us. Moral of the story: roll call the whole family before and after all stops.”
We almost lost this little guy. I would have been pretty upset had we not found him. In fact, I would probably still be in Hanksville looking for this little stinker.