Quiet. We’re camping in the Valley of the Gods and it is quiet. I love it. Coffee in the morning is amazing. Me, Derek, Fletcher, and the gods. Cool monolithic sandstone formations dot the valley floor all around us. These behemoths were formed by water, wind, and ice over 250 million years ago.
After driving from Escalante up through the snow, we arrived in a rain storm. It rained for a couple days so we stayed inside and read, watched movies, and darted outside when we could to walk Fletcher. The soil here is like sludgy clay when it gets wet and not at all fun to walk in.
Natural Bridges National Monument
When we went into the visitor center to show our National Park pass, the gentleman at the counter noticed Derek’s Deschutes County Public Library card and cheerfully announced he lived in Bend when he wasn’t working. Small world!
Natural Bridges National Monument sits high on Cedar Mesa at 6500′. Streams cut two deep canyons and three massive sandstone bridges formed from what was once the shore of an ancient sea. You can drive the 9 mile scenic loop and see all three bridges by walking a short distance. There are also hiking trails that get you down to the canyon floor to view the bridges from below. We opted to do a 6 mile loop that descended to Kachina Bridge and then looped around to Sipapu Bridge.
Kachina Bridge was down a series of switchbacks and slickrock. The trail had quite a few stream crossings to negotiate and keep the hike adventurous. Big oak and cottonwood groves line the trail. We got to walk underneath the arch and view it in solitude, there was nobody around!
Sipapu Bridge is the second largest national bridge in the WORLD. In Hopi mythology, a Sipapu is a gateway through which souls may pass to the spirit world. To get back up to the mesa we had to climb a series of ladders and switchbacks. Derek’s fear of heights had me a little worried but he made it no problem.
The last bridge, Owachomo, means rock mound in Hopi. This bridge seemed more delicate and narrow. We only had to hike a mile to get a better view of this bridge.
Our last hike was to view the Horsecollar Ruins. From the viewpoint you can look across the canyon and see the remains of an ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling.
We’re getting to see and do so much cool stuff!