Sunday, October 19, 2014

Natural Bridges NM, UT - 10/19/14

Sunday – October 19, 2014
Natural Bridges National Monument
Blanding, Utah

The warm, sunny weather continues with the temperature in the mid-seventies. Time for another road trip! We will travel from Goosenecks State Park in Mexican Hat, Utah to Natural Bridges National Monument, west of Blanding, Utah.

Our Travel Route:
East on Utah highway 316
North on Utah highway 261
West on Utah highway 95
North on Utah highway 275

Utah highway 261 is a paved, two-lane road, that takes the traveler through a steep mountain pass, with 5-mph switchback curves, and steep drop-offs to the side. There is a three-mile section that is unpaved, it is a rough, washboard type, gravel road with blind curves and in some sections, one lane. We chose this route because it is only thirty-two miles to Natural Bridges National Monument. There is a warning sign at the base of the mountain, restricting vehicles to 27 feet in length, maximum weight of 10,000 pounds and no towed vehicles are allowed.

The three-mile section of gravel road was rough, restricting our speed to 5-mph. Fortunately, we did not encounter any oncoming vehicles while we were traversing the numerous single-lane blind curves. It seemed like it took forever to negotiate that three-mile stretch of gravel road, but once we reached the summit, we were back on a paved two-lane road and all was well. Sharon and I agreed, we would take the long way around on the return trip, despite that it would add another 35 miles to our route back to the campground.

There is a nine-mile loop that takes the visitor through Natural Bridges National Monument. There is no fee to enter this area. The visitor center provides an excellent orientation movie.

Erosive action of running water on crossbedded sandstone creates natural bridge formations. Three giant bridges (ranging from 106 to 220 feet in height) represent three stages of development – later, mature, young.

Later Phase: Owachomo - now straddling no stream.

Mature Phase: Sipapu - whose abutments now lie far from its streambed.

Young Phase: Kachina - still quite bulky and suffering full effects of White Canyon floodwaters.

Hiking through and around these natural rock formations was an awe inspiring experience.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.



No comments:

Post a Comment