On a Saturday last month we decided to do a daytrip down to Castle Dale, in the middle of the San Rafael Swell. It's a beautiful place, typical of Utah, and has mountains on one side and desert and sandstone on the other.
Our reason for going was the Castle Valley Pageant. But I had ulterior motives: Before we went out to the pageant, we drove south on UT-10 and visited an amazing petroglyph panel at Rochester Creek. It was a short afternoon hike there, half a mile or so, clinging alongside beautiful sandstone canyon walls. The panel couldn't have been better. We were the only ones around for miles.
The Castle Valley Pageant has been going on for years--30 years. It's a large outdoor play depicting the trials that early pioneers went through as they settled the valley. It's a little out-of-date (read: politically incorrect), but very entertaining and even humbling. Hard to just sit and realized what life is like for us, and what it really could be like.
We met our good friends and family the Adamses there (they blogged about it too--I'm just slower than them!), so we all had a buddy (hanging out with them is like a built-in buddy system). I think our favorite part of the pageant was before the show, where for two hours a pioneer village operates. There's cow milking, horse buggy rides, a blacksmith shop, rings made of horseshoe nails, homemade honey candy, fresh-churned butter (and honey butter) on bread, donkey sitting, pasta over an open fire, two huge authentic-looking Indian teepees, and so on. The skies were menacing, but it never really quite rained on us, and a huge rainbow opened up over the whole place. It ended after 10:00 and we drove home all night, getting home before 1:00. It was a worthy Saturday.
at the top of the little trailhead
Bella smelling sage (it's her favorite thing to do now on our hikes--and who can blame her!)
here's the ridge we hiked across (behind us)
the view, down into a lush valley where the murky creek flows
the Rochester Creek panel!--worth the hike
looking down at Oey and Amy
kids standing near the edge
our family photo
Bella's favorite. She called him Wall-E. Definitely a male robot petroglyph!
Bella looking cute
Jarom looking quite fine himself
Oey didn't read the sign. This is the puddle all the horses ran through during the actual pageant. Quite the show.
turning the bellows on a makeshift blacksmith stove made from an old brake drum
exploring a pioneer-style home
The boys were happy atop the burro.
And the girls were a little confused.
milking a cow
making ice cream
exploring a teepee
Jarom's got some sly moves here
This is what it looked like there. Breathtaking and fantastic. The San Rafael Swell has some real unique desert appeal. The whole night it threatened rain, but nothing ever came of it.
taking a wagon ride
the girls checking out the awesome rainbow
We could see the whole thing (which is kind of rare for me). I stitched some photos together. It's kind of obviously stitched, but still very pretty, and you can see most of the pioneer village from here too.