We passed by the branch of the trail that led to the Fruita Overlook deciding to continue on toward the Frying Pan. We weren’t planning on going all the way but were enjoying the trail so much we figured we’d keep going. We knew it was downhill all the way to the car so it would be faster going out. This was a feature we looked forward to today after the grueling pull out of Horseshoe Canyon the day before. The grade in front of us blocked our view of the incoming sky so we were a bit surprised when dark clouds came into view. This convinced us to turn around and head back.
By the time we made it to the junction of the overlook trail, the sky had improved so we decided to go to the Fruita Overlook to add to our hike a little. The trail dipped to the bottom of a small arroyo then headed up til it leveled out.
Along the way, there were many of what I call ‘sunburned’ rocks - some rocks that are naturally white but turn black after lying out exposed to the sun for a few hundred or thousand years. If you flip one over, the bottom is still white. Leave it that way and, many years from now after we’re all long gone, both sides will match.
It wasn’t long before we were nearing the overlook. Naturally the sky was looking real stormy again. A testy looking thunderhead appeared from the southwest accompanied by low rumbling in the distance. We took a quick couple of shots at the overlook but felt too exposed on the edge to feel comfortable with lightning headed in our direction.
Again we found ourselves on the run from incoming storms. We weren’t too surprised since we have yet to get through a Utah vacation without weather affecting our plans. That's the price you may pay if you visit in "monsoon season".
We did some speed hiking back the way we’d come. As we dipped through the arroyo again large cold raindrops began to spatter the rocks. There were numerous overhangs that could’ve sheltered us had the rain increased. By the time we made it back down to Rt. 24, the thunderstorm had slid off to the east leaving us dry. It seemed like it would be a good time to head down the scenic drive since it was just after noon.
We dropped into the VC to make sure the road was open. It was open as far as Capitol Gorge but the dirt section beyond was closed since the potential for flash floods still existed. We bought a couple of CDs while there - Mary Youngblood’s ‘Beneath the Raven Moon’ and American Spirit II. They made a wonderful soundtrack for the rest of our trip.