With the threat of rain in the forecast, we decided to do a few short hikes so we could dash back to the truck if needed. All the hikes were off Hole in the Rock Road. Hole-in-the-Rock came about after a scouting party of Mormons set out to find a site for a new settlement in the region in 1879. The trail crossed from Escalante in Southern Utah, to the town of Bluff.
Covered Wagon Natural Bridge
Covered Wagon Natural Bridge was a short hike from where we parked 5ish miles down a narrow dirt road. I tried to research the difference between an arch and a bridge and got this: A natural bridge is a type of natural arch where a current of water, such as a stream, clearly was a major agent in the formation of the opening (hole).’s. So a bridge is formed by water and an arch is formed by wind. Just beyond the bridge is a horseshoe shaped grotto that we wandered around checking out too.
Cedar Wash Arch
Cedar Wash Arch doesn’t look like it gets much use, there wasn’t anyone else there and the trail wasn’t very pronounced. We hiked down into the wash and then when we could see the arch, we scrambled along freehiking up the sandstone to get a better view. After some pictures we climbed back down to the wash and worked our way to the other side before returning on a higher trail that followed along the cliffs. All in all we went somewhere around 2.2 miles.
Last up was Devil’s Garden. How could something so neat have such a sinister name? We wondered around and looked at all the interesting rock formations. We were able to identify hoodoos, natural arches, and other sandstone formations. Erosion and weathering have been creating these pieces for 166 million years!
Sitting back at camp as I look out across the meadow past the gnarled pinion pines, juniper, and scrub, out towards the sandstone cliffs and listen to the breeze blow through the upper branches I wonder. I wonder at the foresight Bill Clinton had to set this area aside as a National Monument back in 1996. I wonder how we will ever be able to protect such wonderful places. How many people never get to see such awesome places? How long these treasures will last?