Goosenecks Park-Natural Bridges National Monument

Trip Start Oct 10, 2012
Trip End Oct 26, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Monday, October 15, 2012

We started today from the tiny southeastern Utah town named Bluff, population 300. Stopping at the visitor center, we were pounced on by the 3 staff there, a man and two women, who acted like they’d been awaiting our arrival for a week. Obviously they don’t get a lot of visitors this time of year.

The visitor center told the incredible story of the town’s founding in the late 19th century. A group of 300 Mormons accepted a call to establish an outpost in this remote and unsettled corner in order to establish friendly relations with the Native Americans here. The route they took almost defies description – cutting straight through the center of the state across the high Colorado Plateau. Several places, but one in particular, they had to blast a route through the rock with dynamite. The journey expected to take 6 weeks took 6 months. But they all arrived safely, their numbers increased by 2 births along the way, and no deaths or serious injuries were suffered.

Goosenecks State Park is just around the corner from Bluff, so we pulled in there to see if it lived up the advance photo billing…it did! The San Juan River wanders through three oxbows in what Pat, the geology mind on our team, calls "entrenched meanders". Pretty incredible views!

The main event of the day was testing walk possibilities in Natural Bridges National Monument. This isolated chunk of Utah was established as a national monument way back in 1908 to protect three massive stone bridges. Worldwide, only Rainbow Bridge, which we saw earlier in the trip, is larger.

Getting down to the bridges was, unfortunately, quite a feat in itself. The walk along the canyon floor was delightful, and doable, but accessing the canyon to start the trek required the use of ladders accessed across steep sandstone edges.

So even though we spent about 5 hours here, looking for ways to make a doable walk, in the end we decided that if we opt to include Natural Bridges, it will be just to view the bridges. The oldest bridge, Owachomo, is, in fact, accessible, but the other two that offer the better walk between them, Sipapu and Kachina, are the ones requiring mountain goat skills to access.

We ended our day in Moab, a town that lives and breathes outdoor adventure activities, situated
strategically between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Our mission tomorrow is walk planning in this superlative saturated stretch of sandstone in Unbelievable Utah.
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andreatravels on

WOW! AMazing place, Dan. You will love Arches, too--try to see the Delicate Arch at sunset! It's a little spooky walking back in the dark--but the view is just amazing. This whole trip looks wonderful!

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