Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Monday and Tuesday

Monday we had a relaxing morning, a bit of laundry, a pleasant second cup out in the sun and after lunch we enjoyed what we enjoy most - bumbling around on dirt roads. 

Sometimes we have a clear destination, sometimes we just turn the Jeep onto a road to see where it goes.     Monday was a little bit of both.   Our neighbor here at the campground asked Dave if we had seen the "hoo doos".    Dave said we had not so John gave him some very loose directions.   "Head out of Bluff and turn right on one of the dirt rds, you'll pass a couple oil rigs".    So, off we went.

We made a right on one of the dirt roads, passed a couple oil wells and so on and so on.   

One spot we stopped to check out some interesting rock formations.   As we walked out into the field we noticed some white spots that looked like they could be bones scattered everywhere.

Since this area is open range, we assumed they were from an unfortunate cow but as we got closer we saw they were not bovine bones.

They were equine bones.   They were from a relatively small horse that had obviously been owned and ridden by someone at some point in it's life, probably not too long ago.

The three legs/hooves we found all had shoes on.    Sad to think about, nasty to look at, but interesting to look at also.      There was even chestnut colored hair still on the fetlocks.    From examining the teeth, we deduced it was probably middle aged.    Do you think we read too many forensic mysteries?

After a few more turns we came upon what John was probably talking about, a feature my Utah Benchmark map called "Chimney Rocks".

We hiked around among them for quite awhile before getting back on the road again.    The map showed that this road may possibly take us out to rt. 191 and save miles of twisting and turning trying to find out way back.

the hoo doos dwarf the Jeep

we watched this Kestrel hunt

Long story short.....the road we were on did not connect and after one last rutted hill that led nowhere we decided to just go back the way we came.

Dave checks out the road ahead

No matter, the scenery always looks different from the other direction!

The wind was blowing so hard that it actually rolled the loose sand surrounding these formations into tiny, round balls. 

Today, Tuesday, we drove (on mostly paved roads) to the Natural Bridges National Monument, about 60 miles north and west.      From Bluff there are two routes to take.    One of them would entail driving up the Moki Dugway, a graded dirt switchback road carved or dug into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa.  This route consists of 3 miles of steep, well graded switchbacks (11% grade) which wind 1200 feet from the valley floor.    I've avoided riding on this road each time we've been in the area and today I decided it was time to just do it.

Thanks to Dave's careful and thoughtful driving skills, I'm happy to say I did it!

The rest of the ride was a piece of cake on nice, paved, flat roads.

heading toward Bear Ears National Monument
(which has been reduced to 16% of it's original size by guess who)

The sky was dark and it was very windy when we arrived at the National Monument, the Visitor's Center was closed.    We drove the Loop road and stopped at each viewpoint.   Natural bridges and arches are often difficult to pick out from a distance.   I hope you can see them in these pictures.

no bridge here, I just liked how the rocks seemed to curl

Dave rewarded my Moki Dugway bravery by buying me dinner at the Twin Rocks Cafe.....I'll never pass up their Chicken Noodle Soup (which is really more like a stew with dumplings instead of traditional noodles) and Navajo Fry Bread with honey.....

he usually waits for me.....


  1. I now have the Chimney Rocks area on our radar for the next visit. What great features. I love that photo of Dave peeking out with the beautiful snow capped mountains. The Moki Dugway isn't too bad. It is wider than it appears. The arches at Natural Bridges are so beautiful and so large. I want to return to redo this hike one day. We parked at the last arch and hiked across the mesa to hike down by the first arch and then do a loop below coming up and out at arch three. The distance down from the first arch is the furthest and the easiest climb out is three. Glad you went to see these beauties. Keep the fun coming!!

  2. You are making me drool with that Chicken noodle soup! If you have not been bumbling around we would have not seen those Chimney Rocks!
    Here's a pat in the back for finally allowing Dave to convince you that Moki Dugway is a a beautiful ride :) Also once you are up, and after passing the Moki Dugway signage on your left, is another dirt road that will lead you to a wide open vista and you can see Monument Valley from there. Great place for lunch with a view.

  3. For some reason, while we were in Bluff, we walked right by that restaurant, but never ate there. That was, apparently, dumb. Love the pic of the hoodoos with the Jeep in the background. I'm finding my pictures from out west are only representative when they have someone or something in them for scale. Otherwise, the size of these formations just never comes across. Love the photos from Natural Bridges. That was another place that didn't really come across in pictures, but when we were standing there, we were blown away. Glad to hear you made it up Moki Dugway. That is one crazy road for sure, but lots of great views from the top!

  4. Our son lived near Denver for years and we'd try to find different routes to take. Before the RV we took the 4x4 Tundra, that allowed us to do some side trips including all the places you mention, but sure wish we'd known of the lunch-with-a-view spot MonaLisa mentions! Now with the RV, but no toad sidetrips are pretty limited. Thanks for the memories, what a great couple days you worked in.

  5. As fellow bumblers we love days like this!! That balancing table is amazing. Not sure I'm ready for Moki, although your bravery is inspiring so maybe :-) The bridges are beautiful - I love all the colors.

  6. You conquered the Moki Dugway!! Way to go! You deserved that chicken soup and fry bread. :-)
    I've been wanting to return to Natural Bridges. It's such a beautiful area. Well, the entire are is just gorgeous, as you know. I'm thinking a return to Cedar Mesa is in our future...until then, I'll content myself with your adventures.