On the Road Adventures

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July 28–Natural Bridges National Monument

I would have said that I knew every National Park, Monument, and Historical Site in the state of Utah, but I’d never heard of this one!  Gerry says it’s because the Monument has only been around since 1908, so the word hasn’t gotten out yet.  But now we know!  Us and the Europeans.  The ranger said about 70% of their visitors were from Europe.  We talked to people from Germany, France and Great Britain during our visit.  I’m glad they’re out enjoying our country.

There are three enormous natural bridges that were scoured out of the Cedar Mesa sandstone by the streams that flowed through the mesa.  The youngest bridge is named Katchina.  It’s 210’ high, 93’ thick and its span is 204’ long.
There’s a tiny black dot under the bridge at about 2 o’clock – that’s a mini-van sized rock with two people sitting on it.  We didn’t go down to see this from below because, well, because if you go down you have to come back up again.  And at 7,000’ I don’t do up particularly fast.
238 Kachina Bridge

234 Sipapu Bridge

The oldest bridge is Owachomo, 106’ high and 180’ across.  It’s a scant 9’ thick, although there is an old photo in the visitor center of a whole troop of soldiers and their horses standing on top of the span, which gave me the shivers just to look at.  It’s just sandstone!  At this bridge we did hike down (106’ being more manageable than 210’, and we didn’t actually intend to go all the way down but the view would be just a little better just down those next few steps and all of a sudden we were at the bottom of the canyon.)

255 petroglyphs

The next bridge is Sipapu, which spans 268’ and stands 220’ tall and is 53’ thick, and to me it looks like a moon door in a Chinese garden.  Sipapu means “place of emergence” and to the Hopi, it means the place where the people came into this world.  This nice, round shape makes it a natural for the name.

248 Owachomo Bridge

We finished off the day’s journey with a stop at Newspaper Rock, a collection of petroglyphs that no one can truly interpret.  There are a lot of 6-toed feet, and at least one flying squirrel and I think there’s a Bart Simpson down there in the lower right hand corner.

No comments: