Monday, March 28, 2016


We've been here in Bluff for 4 days now and we're on overload.    Who knew there were so many fantastic things to see here in this little corner of Utah?   Indian ruins of all sizes, ages,  petroglyphs, pictographs, fantastic sandstone monoliths, volcanic plugs, tiny spring flowers, historical sites, the silty San Juan river (sometimes rushing, sometimes trickling) smooth red jeep roads, rough jeep roads, cattle roaming freely, towering bluffs,  high plateaus, distant snow covered mountains, and on and on.

Friday Pam and John (our unofficial tour guides) took us across the street to the Fort Bluff Museum to see a short film about the Hole in The Rock expedition or the San Juan Mission.    A little known but inspirational story about a group of 250 Mormon men, women and children who followed the "call" to form a settlement in the four corners area of Utah in order to become a buffer between lawlessness and civilization.  They began their journey in November 1879. They weren't fleeing religious persecution, they weren't looking for monetary gain, they were making this arduous trail through mostly uncharted and extremely hostile land because they believed it was for the safety and good of the overall community.    An unbelievable story and one that I can't begin to do justice to.    You can either wait for John's rendition ( or look it up for yourself if you're interested in learning about their trials and successes.

window in Fort Bluff
The road, a native surface road, to the base of San Juan Hill was a rough one.   Dave was impressed with John's jeep's performance on the rocky, up and down, sandy track.  

good thing John knew where the road was.....
and that we were in his jeep, not ours!

10 and 2.......what's over this hill?

Comb Ridge
Our task was to climb the hill in the tracks of the Mormon wagon train and see their ruts and their thankful carvings in the rocks along the way.    We looked and looked, we found ruts but those writings evaded us this time.    We're sure we passed them while we were watching our footings.   After seeing the movie and then experiencing the site of one of their challenges I didn't need to see their words to be affected by what they and their hard working animals had to have endured.
on the way to the top of the trail

higher and higher

looking back down the "trail" at the jeep far below
can you see it?

looking down to watch our footing gave us unexpected beauty

ruts of 100 wagons worn in the stone

bright Indian Paintbrush blooming
in the rocks

can you see the trail's scar running diagonally up to the top?

I almost slipped this rock into my pocket....I loved it!
but I resisted

Our day wasn't over yet.   We piled into the jeep and drove a bit more to a wonderful lunch spot.

Next post......


  1. I love Utah. Amazing state filled with so many recreational possibilities. Hope the antenna works better than my new laptop that crashed :-(

  2. Utah really is the most interesting state of the union. I can't wait to see it through your eyes!

  3. Gorgeous and primitive and unparalleled.

  4. Such a fascinating story -- we ran out of days when we were last in Bluff (spent too much time hiking out in the boonies and getting lost ;-)), but we'll definitely catch it next time around. And there will be a next time -- we love Bluff. So glad you're enjoying it!

  5. We had such a short stay in Bluff we did not head out that road...seeing your photos I'm not so sure we would take our truck on that road after all! Thanks for showing me the beauty that I missed!

  6. What a great adventure and heck I didn't know there would be that much to see in that area either! Good to know!

  7. Hmm I have a feeling Steve won't take our CRV Honda down that road. So glad John and Pam were your tour guide and you showed us what we will miss for sure, beautiful....I think when we are in Utah, that adjective will constantly be uttered or written, but it is!

  8. Wonderful story of such hardy souls. How did they get those wagons across that last stretch without sliding all the way down??? Their animals were amazing. Great pic of John and Dave on the higher up!