Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges Entrance Sign

On Tuesday we disconnected the Motorhome from the RV Park Utilities, DID NOT hookup the car, and drove over to Natural Bridges National Monument.  Why in the motorhome?  Because it makes it much more comfortable, especially when the bathrooms are few and far in numbers and distance.  Also, the motorhome sits up higher so that Marcia could see a little better.  We also loaded up the GoGo into the step well of the motorhome…the first time we ever did that.

Views along Utah 95
Views along Utah 95     Views along Utah 95

In this part of Utah you never have to look far to see rock formations….

Views along Utah 95

…and in some cases, they cut right through the rocks to put a highway.  It was just over 60 miles to the entrance to the park, and essentially two highways.  South on Highway 191, then west on Highway 95…both scenic routes.  The final couple of miles is Highway 275, which is really the road into Natural Bridges National Monument.

Views along Utah 95     Views along Utah 95

I just love drives like this where the rocks change in style, color and type just a few miles apart from each other.

View of Natural Bridges National Monument

Shortly after driving past the entrance sign (first picture in this blog post), we come to the Visitor’s Center.  The RV parking was a bit away from the Center, so I go in to show the America the Beautiful Senior Pass which is under Marcia’s name.  I always carry the pass, her driver’s license and passport, so I go in, hand the young lady the pass and her license and, knowing they want to be sure that Marcia is with me, tell her that Marcia is right out in that motorhome out there.  She glances out the window and says, “Holiday Florida, huh?”  “Yes”, I said, “We have a condo there…”.   “I am from Dunedin,” she says.  She landed a spring through fall job at Natural Bridges…and lives just 15 miles or so from us.  “Never thought I would be a snowbird,” she says…in reference to her moving back to Florida for the Winter.   We then drive on to the first of many pullouts, and I get the panoramic shot above.

View of Natural Bridges National Monument     View of Natural Bridges National Monument
View of Natural Bridges National Monument

Besides the “Natural Bridges”, there are many views of rock formations and distance mountains.  The weather was nice, lightly cloudy, little wind, mid to high 80’s.  There is a one-way road that goes around the park, and the traffic was light.

View Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument

The first “Natural Bridge” is the Sipapu Bridge, in the picture above.  Yep, it is hard to make out in the maze of rock formations.  First, what a a “Natural Bridge”?  Well, they are like an “Arch”, like those found in Arches National Park…and in fact, there are Arches here at Natural Bridges.  The difference between a Arch and a Bridge is that a Natural Bridge has water flowing under it sometime during the year. 

View Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument

Here is a close up of the Sipapu Bridge, and sure enough, although it is hard to see, there is a small stream, pretty much dried up this time of year, that flows under it.  To see the Sipapu Bridge, you need to walk down a steep sidewalk, so steep that Marcia does not want to go down it in her GoGo because she is afraid I would have to push her back up.  We have had this back and forth discussion many times.  I am not sure if I would have had to push her or not…it isn’t worth “discussing” though.  Anyway, Sipapu Bridge is one of the largest Natural Bridges in the world, measuring 220’ high and 268’ wide.

View Kachina Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument

The next Bridge is Kachina Bridge, in the picture above.  To get to the view point to this bridge you walk down an even steeper, and longer, sidewalk…and this time I agree with Marcia that I would have had to help push her back up had she rode down to it.  As it was, I had to point out the Kachina Bridge to a few people down at the view point.

View Kachina Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument

Here is the Kachina Bridge…it almost looks like a cave more than a bridge, but the opening, which looks small compared to the rock formations surrounding it, does go through the rock, and it was in this area that I did see some standing water along the dry stream bed.

View Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument

The last of the three bridges is Owachomo Bridge, which is in the picture above.  The Owachomo Bridge is much easier to see.  A short, level walk to the view point, and it also can be seen from the far end of the parking lot where I parked before leaving the area to walk the dogs.

View Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument

Here is a closer view of Owachomo Bridge.  In fact, Owachomo Bridge is more like a “Arch” than a “Bridge” because there is the lack of a water source running underneath it any more. 
So a little research, and I found these two definitions for a Bridge and a Arch:
Natural bridges span high above the ground from one canyon wall to another canyon wall. They form from river or stream erosion deep within canyons, and are still eroding from stream erosion and gravity.
Natural arches are formed within a rock wall or are free-standing. They usually occur in the weak layer of the rock after years and years of water and wind erosion.

Moki Dugway from WikipediaSo we are done with Natural Bridges, and it is time to head back home.  There is only one more thing…there is this road…the same road we saw when we pulled into Goosenecks State Park last week.  Highway 261 runs from what is essentially Goosenecks State Park, to within a mile of the entrance to Natural Bridges.  There are warnings for trucks and RVs…there is a 10% drop which lasts for about 2 1/2 miles.  We don’t have the tow car, and it is tempting…but the GPS does not take me that route when I put in Goosenecks as our destination.  I pull over at the entrance to highway 261, but I can’t see any more info which gives me any hope that the motorhome could handle the road.  I decide against it.  When I get back to Monticello where we have a strong Internet signal, I find out that the 2 1/2 mile drop is all gravel road.  It is paved before the drop, and after the drop…but the drop is gravel.  Sure glad I made the right choice and followed the reprogramed GPS back to Monticello.

Today (Wednesday) was laundry day, and tomorrow we head for Colorado.  We thought about going back to Moab, but the temps are going to be in the 90’s up in Moab over the weekend…so Colorado here we come.

PS:  It was nice to know that we can travel with the GoGo in the motorhome, but this trip we did not use it. 

4 comments:

  1. I so want to go on Hwy 261. Two things are stopping me - Tony would kill me for taking us that way and I would spend half of the time with my eyes closed and the other half telling him that we're too close to the edge. :-D
    Going up sounds like a better idea than going down.

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    Replies
    1. I agree...I told Marcia she was lucky we were at the top, because I would have gone up it, not down it in the motorhome though.

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  2. What a beautiful place ... I've never been there. Will add it to my list!!

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    Replies
    1. This is what you need to do...drive to Goosenecks and shell out $10 a day, and then take the Jeep up the Moki Dugway to Natural Bridges, then over to Blanding and down to Valley of the Gods. Gotta take the puppies with you though, because you would be gone for a good chunk of the day, but you would be in the Jeep for 98% of the time. Can't wait to see YOUR pictures of that day trip.... (wish we had a jeep)

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