L.A. to Toronto Roadtrip Notes: Day 4, Capitol Reef

This is the vista that hits us upon entering Bryce Canyon National Park. The columns of weathered rock are called hoodoos and apparently the local Paiute view them as "Legend People" who were turned to stone and fixed in place, like the ancient Pompeiians, for behaving badly.

By the way, have I said the geography of southern Utah is like nothing of this planet? That it's spellbinding, druggy? I think I'm getting mystical out here.

Tired from hiking, we spend half the day travelling to yet another national park, Capitol Reef. We settle in a campground in the town of Fruita, settled by Mormons along a small river and filled with fruit trees and mule deer. The deer are everywhere.

We pitch our tents under a cottonwood tree, eat, and leave to explore.

The place is bipolar: along the river it's green and bouncing with life, but a few steps away and the desert reemerges, its dust rust and salted, even sprinkled with uranium which the Department of Energy had its sights on at one point.

Before bed, a climb into the mountains and talk in an amphitheatre by the guy who processes the images from the Hubble Space Telescope and just happens to be the photographer in residence for the park at the moment.