Daily Archives: June 15, 2015

Natural Bridges – May 20, Part 1

  
Since we had only traveled on the Valley of the Gods Road for a short distance before reaching the campsite, we wanted to see the rest of it. We followed the Valley of the Gods Road to the western end. It was great seeing the rest of the route. It looked like we had a really great campsite because we passed by a lot of people camped just off of the road. There was quite a bit of traffic on the road. We passed a guy running a grader along the road. We assumed that the road is being prepared for the Memorial Day start of the summer season.

We drove north on highway 261 so that we could travel up the Moki Dugway. It is a really twisty route to climb up onto Cedar Mesa. 

We were headed north towards Natural Bridges National Monument. We were planning to camp out at Cathedral Point in Canyon Rims Recreation Site and it was on the way.

  
There were a lot more people around at Natural Bridges. We stopped at the Visitor Center to find out a little more. The Park Ranger manning the counter was indifferent if not downright rude. She looked at Jon’s Access pass, handed us a guide and was ready to have us leave. I asked her about the road conditions where we were planning to go. She told us that the road was completely impassible due to all the rain during the last three weeks. Jon and I both left with thoughts of other routes and other places to go. 

  
Since we hadn’t been to Natural Bridges before, we decided to make the round and visit the three bridges. I read the Roadside Geology Guide aloud on our way there. 
The first one is Sipapu Bridge   

  

Sipapu Bridge is a middle aged bridge. The stone bridge is moderately thick. 

The second one is Kachina. The parking was already pretty tight and it wasn’t even Memorial Day yet. I certainly wouldn’t want to come here in the summer. There is a hike down to the bridge, but we didn’t want to take the time.    

  

Kachina Bridge is a relatively young bridge. The stone is much thicker than Sipapu. 

 

I thought this bit of the canyon was interesting. It is really undercut. 

The last one is Owachomo. The parking wasn’t quite so bad here. There was also a popular hike from here, but we were ready to move on. 

   

Owachomo Bridge is the oldest of the three bridges. You can see how thin the stone is.   
By this time we had decided that the Ranger didn’t give us very helpful information about the roads. She had no idea what we were driving, Jon’s experience or what kind of recovery gear we were carrying. We decided to see what the road was like for ourselves. 

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