From Boulder Mountain to Waterpocket Fold:
Recalling the Journey Sideways
Our original intention was to re-present our journey into the Capitol Reef zone entirely in sequence, but in view of the fact that viewer interest may well center primarily on the "Reef" portion of the area, we give readers the option of which portion to consider in what order. If you prefer, travel first into and along the Waterpocket Fold. For the image above leading us into that point, we thank Google Earth and its 3-dimensional satellite imagery.
First however a brief orientation. We decided to stay in Torrey (located west of the Capitol Reef National Park boundary as shown on the map at right) because it gave us an early start to make the circle trip I had long imagined. See my explanation in the side-page " Why have a CP Obsession?
We drove south to the town of Boulder over State Highway 12, flanking Boulder Mountain (the eastern edge of the Aquarius Plateau), thence down into what Doelling et al. call the Escalante Canyons section of Grand Staircase National Monument, where Boulder Town stands, at lower left in the map image at right. Click on the image to enlarge it.
From Boulder Town we went eastward on the Burr Trail, which led us over the Circle Cliffs Uplift to the Waterpocket Fold, where we then followed the Notom-Bullfrog Road back to Highway 24. (we did not return to the Visitor's Center area of Capitol Reef National Park, an unfortunate decision (we needed at least two days more on-site), a product of earlier planning which we could not later readily change.
Below, you can see how Highway 12 running south skirts the flanks of Boulder Mountain, a route providing excellent overviews of the Reef area to the east.
Southeast of the mountain shown above, you see the area marked "Circle Cliffs". The words cover only part of the southwestern portion of this large Laramide uplift, the remnant of which marks a major underlying cause of the Fold itself, and which extends northward to the top of the image and south and westward to the Escalante River. The Burr Trail, which runs east from Boulder, over a portion of the Circle Cliffs Uplift, is not shown on this map but you can see its terminus at the red star marked on the "K" of the "Waterpocket". As you can also see, the Escalante River drains this entire southern part of the Aquarius pLateau, as well as the Straight Cliffs to the southwest and the Circle Cliffs on the northeast side. It forms a permanent stream in its lower reaches (though of highly variable volume).
3d. Beyond the Waterpocket