So the 2nd saga of our stay near Bluff, Utah is our visits to Natural Bridges. That is correct – I said visits. One drive through was not enough. We felt a certain challenge coming on as we toured this national monument the first time. The first sight was Bulter Wash, who’s claim to fame was a short hike to see Indian ruins. This was a short hike – about 2.5 km – and this time the distance chart and my FitBit agreed. The prize was viewing the ruins of an Indian Village from approximately AD1350. And of course some exercise amongst the boulders and scrub. Sorry no photos of this yet!
As our tour through the monument continued, we stopped at the Ranger station to show our pass. Did I mention we purchased an annual pass at a cost of $80? We have almost paid for that in admission charges to all the eligible places we have driven through and/or stopped at. Highly recommended if you ever decide to tour this area and state. One thought though is when you show your pass, which is signed by both parties, you also have to pull out your I.D. Some places scan it, others ignore it, but everyone wants I.D. Just a small inconvenience but still…
Anyway, back to Natural Bridges. As we drove through the first day we wanted to go for a hike, but were not prepared for any longer ones. That ruled out the bridges and required more planning for them. Instead we opted for a gentle hike to see Horsecollar Ruins, another ancient site of Indian Ruins. The orderly fashion of these housing developments makes it quite simple to visualize the lifestyle years ago, as the people worked to live.
Here you see 2 different views of the ruins; one of our first short hike to see them, and the second a view we discovered when we hiked right by them on a bridge hike later in the week.
Again I remind you if you click on the photo to open it you see far more features.
The photos below show you the bridges from the viewing points along the road.
The photos are in this order - Sipapu Bridge, Kachina Bridge and Owachomo.
The next day we set out for our “test” hike to Owachomo Bridge. With only an ascent and descent vertical of 250 feet, and a short distance of 5 km round trip, it was a good start to promise to hike and see each bridge and see the underneath.
I honestly thought Owachomo was the most striking and photogenic.
Our next venture out was the “big HIke”. We were told you could ascent down to one bridge and follow a weak trail to either of the other two bridges. We were a bit leery of starting at Sipapu as it was said to include stairs and ladders. As we had just visited the bottom of Owachomo, that made the decision to descend at Kachina, hike to Sipapu, then return to Kachina for the ascent an easy one. Don is the packer and planner for these trips, and we left with plenty of water, food and essentials.
The photos take you through the trip with us; from the sign to the paths, our first sighting of Kachina, les travelled trails, first sight of Sipapu, the rock formations and a view of the final ascent.
I would like to say the end! If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram you will note that it was actually 22,011 steps equalling 13.85 km. We were out for just over 5 hours, which we were quite pleased with as the Ranger indicated it was 4-6 hours. We took lots of breaks, including a long lunch break. Not that we expected it, but this was very different form that amount of steps in town or on pathways.
This photo sums up how we felt when it was over…