We've been wanting to hit up Capital Reef for some time now. We have this goal to hit all the Mighty Five National Parks: Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, and Capital Reef. We've only done Zion and Arches as a family so far...so we have some work to do! Anyway, the downfall...the Capital Reef campground does not take reservations, it's only first come, first serve. So we've been putting it off because I'm always worried we wouldn't get a spot because it seems everything is always crowded around here during the summer months! We decided to wait until after Labor Day when travel/camping slows way down. We left on a Friday afternoon.
The girls (Piper especially) had been counting down the days til we got to leave.
The drive was quite nice and surprisingly smooth.
We pulled into the park around around 6...and what do you know...campground full. The girls pretty much burst into tears, and I wasn't close behind. It's just so discouraging, especially with all the prep (food, gear, etc.) Ryan and I had to do before hand. It's just such a let down. The campground host directed us to some BLM land to camp at...but without water and bathrooms, those options were pretty much out. I would have taken one for the team and camped somewhere without a bathroom, but one kiddo was having a nervous breakdown with the thought of no toilet. I was not going to turn this into a traumatic weekend, so after an hour or so of driving around we decided to book a hotel in the little nearby town.
And if things couldn't get any worse, turns out, there were no vacancies at a single hotel.
By this point, it was close to 8 and we were all starving. Every eatery was packed or way out of our price point, so we opted to stop into a Subway inside a gas station...desperate times.
It was close to 9 by the time we finished eating and decided it was time to throw in the towel. There wasn't much left to do but drive back home. So, in the dark while the kiddos (kinda) slept, we drove the three hours back.
And what really boggles me, was that everyone told us how Capital Reef is the "quietest" of all the parks...what happened?! There were people everywhere, people like us, scrambling, trying to find a place for the night. And you know who were in the campground all comfortable...retired people. I kid you not...not a single family I saw in that campground! Come on baby boomers, camp during the week and give the spots to families on the weekend!!
The only thing I could think of why it was so crowded was because of the Harvest Moon...but who really knows.
So Saturday, after our failed trip, we decided to make the best of our weekend home.
We loaded up the car and went hiking up in the canyon. It was beautiful and the weather was perfect!
Just this year Haley hit a massive growth spurt and shot up.
Still when I look at her, I feel she's smaller than me. It isn't until I see a photo of us that I'm shocked...she's so grown up looking! Where did my baby go?!
After our hike we drove up to Squaw Peak to gaze down onto the valley.
It's just so pretty this time of year!
And to continue our weekend of fun, we hit up the last day of the Utah State Fair on Sunday.
So despite our failed camping trip the weekend turned out pretty nice.
As soon as we got home we made reservations at one of our favorite campgrounds in St. George for October. We're taking the girls out of school and everything.
Camping will happen!!
Just maybe not at Capital Reef.