Natural Bridges, Petroglyphs, & a Moki Dugway
Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
60Trip End Jul 31, 2011
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Where I stayed
Sand Island BLM Camp
What I did
After a few hours it was time to get ready to head out of Moab after a week. Since we had been here so long it took a little longer to pack up. Around 10:30 we were heading south on the US 191 toward the town of Bluff which was just 100 miles away. It was a mostly easy drive with just a few ups and downs and twists and turns and little traffic
We stayed just a few miles outside Bluff at this BLM camp called Sand Island which is right next to the San Juan River. This was both a campground and a river launch. BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management which is the low man on the totem pole for the Department of the Interior. On top of the pyramid is the National Park System which gets most of the funding and the glory. In the middle are the National Monuments. Then you have the BLM which takes care of land nobody really wants. However, this place was pretty cool. The campground was dry and had no dump station so you could not stay here too long. But this place was so nice – we backed into a site with plenty of trees to stay cool. And we had this 400 ft. high bluff with petroglyphs looking out our back window. Good place to chill. I cooked some quesadillas for lunch (my best ever – it is good to cook it with naan bread). Then we took a little loop drive around the area.
Our main stop was Natural Bridges National Monument
Back on the road we soon came to one of the most exciting and hardest roads of the trip, called the Moki Dugway. Pretty much this two lane highway ends at a cliff – a’la Dead Horse Point. But then, some crazy engineer decided to build a road that loses 1,500 feet in elevation in three miles on the side of a cliff. The road was truly dug out on the side of a cliff. The road turns to gravel except on the steep curves. Going down that steep they had to build a ton of switchbacks. No way I would take the RV down this road. Not being in the mood to test the limits of the truck, I went between 3rd and 4th gear and went very slowly
Since it was only three miles, the Moki Dugway was over before you knew it. Pooh was ready to go home, but I had another surprise for her. Seventeen miles of gravel road in an area called the Valley of the Gods. The gravel road was not too bad – I’ve been on much worse. Pretty much this was a great place for geologic eye candy – massive cliffs on one side and mesas dotting the flat landscape. You feel as if you should be in a stage coach out here or John Wayne will show up on a horse. Great little detour to add some spice to your drive.
From the end of this 17 mile fun drive it was a short distance back to Sand Island and the RV. I took Quique out on a walk around the campground and to the cliff side where some petroglyphs were suppose to be. Turns out these were the best petroglyphs on the whole trip. Yes, there was a little graffiti, but for the most part they were great. The light of the day was fading so I could not see them at their best, but I could see good enough to enjoy them. Being BLM land you would think they were not well protected. But they had a fence around the cliff face so it would make it hard for any future idiot to deface these Native American artifacts. Quique had her fun crawling all over the rocks and chasing small rodents back into their burrows. When I came back and told Pooh, she had to go out too even though there was now even less light. Back in the RV we did a little cooking and went to sleep pretty early.