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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Right after we pass the tiny town of Boulder, we climb in elevation. It is a winter wonderland here, making everything feel so peaceful. The freedom flowing right now in my veins is a treasured gift that I don't take for granted.

I need to capture that great feeling next time I am hard on myself. Any life journey is like this scenic route, with ups and downs and twists. But in the big picture, how we view the landscape around us determines our state of being.

Utah is an incredible state. The diverse landscape here is out of this world. As we approach Capitol Reef National Park, the scenery changes dramatically.

We still have the hint of snow in the distance, but the towering, rich brown with a hint of orange cliffs are taking over the view.

Betty and I get to our camping site by mid-morning ready to explore the park. But before anything, we need to get some pies from Gifford Homestead. I am looking forward to my dessert tonight.

We decided to take a trail just off the campground - Cohab Canyon Trail. Immediately, it is a steep climb. At first, I am not that impressed with our choice. However, as we finish the incline, Betty and I feel that we have been rewarded for our hard work.

Oh my, this part of the trail feels like an art gallery. Each section is a perfect photo to take and hang on the wall. One particular color, a perfect balance of sage contrasting with the dark stone, creates shapes and movements that capture my affection.

The hike takes us through a canyon full of colors and textures. We are both in awe of this magical beauty. Less than a mile into our hike, we take an unmarked path to view a lonely sloth canyon, enjoying his privacy.

Our initial plan is to hike Cohab Canyon Trail to Hickman Bridge, but as we get to the intersection with the Frying Pan Trail, we change our minds and continue to be immersed with the view in front of us.

We both visited Capitol Reef in the past, and we both voted this hike to be the best one so far.

There is still time to explore the park before getting dinner going. We hop into Betty's truck to drive the Capitol Reef scenic route up to the end, to hike along the Capitol Gorge Trail for a bit.

Okay, and now for the big test: How does the apple pie of Gifford Homestead compare to that of Julian Pie Company?

As the dramatic music is playing in the background, I open the envelope to reveal the results. (ha, ha, just a fun way to keep you with me)

Now, remember that these are my taste buds. 

And the winner is: Julian Pie Company.

Well, it's time to say goodbye to Betty. She needs to get back home, and I desperately need to do laundry and get some groceries.

We had a wonderful time together. We both know this is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship and many more trips together.

Now I am sitting at a campsite with a relaxing view of one black horse, a white pony, and snow-capped mountains in the distance. I am catching up with my writing while I do laundry. Tonight, I will enjoy a hot shower and be warm in my van while using my heating fan, as I have electricity.

Now that was a good night's sleep! Life is warm and sweet now that I can plug my heating blanket into electricity.

It's time to hit the road. The weather forecast here calls for snow tomorrow.

My next destination is Canyonlands, The Needles District.

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