Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Our last stop on our Easter Sunday was to see the Sand Island petroglyphs.    This site is quite near our campground so we saved it for the end of our day.  The BLM has a small campground on the riverside flat, but for a 1000 years before we arrived Native American people camped here and carved drawings into the high, rock cliff near by.

The rock art is easily accessible and we were surprised to find that it hasn't been too badly defaced as a result.  

The panel contains several hundred figures in styles from archaic to more recent Native American and cowboy inscriptions.

The weather hasn't been very nice the past few days.   Yesterday it was cold and rainy, we stayed inside and read and relaxed.

what to do on a rainy day

This morning we had a nice day planned with Pam and John.   More petroglyphs in Butler Wash and the fantastic photo opportunity of the House on Fire mid morning.    The weather guessers predicted 0 chance of precip. so we decided to start off at 10 to catch the proper light at the House.

sigh.....says he

Hmmmmm. We woke up to snow on the ground and snow in the air coupled with  very cold temperatures.  No hiking, no petroglyphs, no House on Fire for us.

We resigned ourselves to second cup inside and another down day.   We  had plenty of things to take care of and phone calls to make so it wasn't so bad.

what to do on a snowy day

The sun made a brief appearance later in the day so we decided to go over to the little museum at Fort Bluff.   Since this was our second last day in the area we thought it was time to visit the visitor center and museum.   We seem to need to experience a place and then find out what we saw....completely opposite of the normal way of doing things, I know.   We always say we're going to do things in the proper order next time, but we never seem to manage it!

Here are a few pictures of the really nice museum.

inside a Navajo hogan


Dave in a Ute teepee

Oh Dave, those lilacs aren't open yet!

There were many displays outside, replica's of early settler's cabins, an original cabin, well, etc. and lots of old photographs inside but I had neglected to charge my camera so I have no more pictures.   My phone, too, was low on battery so
this is all I have from the very good museum, I'm sorry for that.

As we were finishing up our visit, the sky became black and thunder rumbled in the distance.     We drove through heavy rain and groppel on our way to the grocery store in Blanding.   We could see snow falling on the distant mountains.  

Tomorrow is our last day and we really hope this weather has gone by the morning, we've so much left to see!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


We spent Easter doing much the same thing we've done other days here in the Bluff area.   By same I mean driving and hiking around some of the most memorable scenery and sights.   Nothing is the same, however.   Around every turn is another "wow", another silence inducing wonder, another question, another ahhhh.

Nina ( once said of similar scenery that it made her feel "privileged and insignificant" at the same time.   We get that, we really get that.

We were advised that driving through the Valley of the Gods was something we MUST do.   People said it was like being in the middle of Monument Valley but on a more intimate level.    That's where we started Easter day.

through the cut

We drove through the cut in Comb Ridge and turned off the highway onto a well graded dirt and gravel road and into the Valley of the Gods.

The 17 mile drive crossed a few washes, some dry, some wet.    We saw very few people on our trek.  A couple bicyclists and one annoying driver hurrying from pull off to pull off to get the perfect photograph with his huge tripod and camera.

the Seven Sailors

He didn't stay with us long and we really had the rest of the drive to ourselves.

setting hen butte

Many of these monoliths have been given local names.   We had a rudimentary map with us and we were able to identify the first few by name.   Seven Sailors,
setting hen butte, but soon put the map down and just marveled at the sights and immersed ourselves in the experience.

see tiny Dave near the fallen rock?

We got out and hiked into some of the formations for a closer look here and there.    After a while Dave spotted the perfect place for our lunch.

see him calling me to bring the lunch up to him?

perfect seat for lunch with a view

As we sat eating lunch we noticed the small things all around us.   A little bird was singing its heart out on a rock not too very far away.  By the time I got my binoculars up and focused she'd flown away.    The sun was warm on our shoulders, but a cold wind was nipping our ears.

a spot of yellow just below my rock seat

glowing in the shade

After lunch we continued our loop.  The clouds were starting to move in providing a beautiful backdrop to the sandstone formations around us.

I won't bore you with the rest of the hundred or so pictures I have of these red rocks.     Needless to say we were mesmerized by the Valley of the Gods.

When we finally finished our exploration of the Valley, we made a couple other stops before on our way home.   One of them was to the nearby Goosenecks State Park.     There were no signs warning of cattle on the road leading into the park, but we've learned to be cautious when rounding corners or cresting hills.

I'd seen pictures of this park before, we know people who've camped on the very edge, but I wasn't fully prepared for the sight of it.    The silty San Juan river snaking 1000 feet below us blew me away, literally and figuratively.    Strong winds blow up from the water in the afternoons.   We could see people rafting the river far below.

   I'm proud to tell you that I took the picture, myself.    Usually I have to hand the camera to Dave and give him directions on what I want in the picture.   I cannot get close to an edge, but this view point had a rock wall directly in front of me and a point of land beyond that so I stood, shakily, and captured the view.   Good girl.

This is a small State Park offering undeveloped camping, hiking and picnicking on the rim of this very impressive example of an entrenched river meander.   The entrance fee is $5 per car.

Continuing on our way back to Beluga we decided to follow an unpaved road that had intrigued us before.    It appeared to run behind the "famous" Mexican Hat formation and we wanted to see where it went.    I love to do that!    The road eventually went no where, but it was a beautiful ride!

beautiful close up view of the Raplee Anticline

One last stop on this Easter day brought us to a wall of petroglyphs, but this post has gone on much too long, so more about them next time.

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Good Friday, part 2

Our new trucker antenna helped boost the internet signal so I was able to load pictures on the previous post.    If you read it before I added the pictures, go back to it, lots to see.

So....the rest of Good Friday's jaunt took us along the San Juan river to River House ruins.  

San Juan River

River House ruins

River House is a ruin that was occupied by ancestral Puebloans between AD 900 and late 1200.   You can walk in and around the ruins, you can find pottery shards and bits of corn cobs scattered around the site.

  You can absorb the silence and think about who lived and died here, you can think about whose hands made these pots, why they picked these patterns, what they were used for, how they broke.....your imagination can take you away in this place.

What does the rock art mean, why inscribe some images, why paint others.   Were they graffiti, were they stories for their children, were they history lessons....

We had the ruins to ourselves for the  most part.  A few couples walked up from their rafts on the river, crawled around, laughed and talked a few minutes then left as quickly as they came.  

We had a lovely quiet lunch together.   The only other visitors weren't hungry and they didn't talk loudly or laugh and spoil the mood....

lunch with a view and good friends
(thanks for the photo Pam)

After lunch we walked along the broad ledge River House sits on to see what was evidently the granary.

It was a very good day.