Having spent the better part of 2 months in CO seeking respite from the heat, we found a flake or two of snow on the Jeep one morning and headed back into the frying pan. We left Colorado, drove an hour and a half west into UT and we’re back at 90 degrees, ahhhh.
We booked a week in Bluff without knowing anything about the area but soon we discovered it had plenty of places for us to explore. (Our navigator is a genius)
Even as we approached Bluff we began to see the giant monoliths that dot the landscape.
We’re still in the full-hook mode, a/c being vital, and RV parks appear to be raising prices due to the demand, whatever happened to the $25/$30 rates? Coral Sands was $40 per night with 7th night free, except it wasn’t available on the 7th night.
This was beautiful Bluff. Founded in 1880 by the San Juan Missions Pioneers, it was end of the trail for the Hole-n Rock Expedition. A six month odyssey covering 200 miles over difficult terrain to establish a farming community.
Valley of the Gods was 20 miles down the road, a scenic sandstone valley, sculpted by millions of years of wind, water and ice. A gravel road winds around these grand monoliths and virtually no one was there.
Just a short drive down the road we came upon Moki Dugway an unpaved stretch of road ascending to Cedar Mesa. Built in 1958 by Texas Zinc, a mining company it was used to transport uranium from Happy Jack mine in Fry Canyon
Following the road upward with its switchbacks, glad we didn’t bring the coach, to amazing views from the top
When we arrived back at the bottom we found this coyote searching for food along the highway.
Another day we visited Gooseneck State Park. The San Juan River makes a series of tight turns (goosenecks) and has carved a deep canyon dropping about 1,000’ below the viewpoint.
Mexican Hat is an impressive rock formation that looks amazingly like a a Mexican sitting on a rock wrapped in a sarape. A bit disappointing when you get closer and realize it’s not.
There is a small town, of course Mexican Hat, where the San Juan River runs through and daily river trips are taken
Three bridges were discovered in 1883 that water had sculpted from stone. In 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Natural Bridges National Monument, creating Utah’s first National Park system area.
In 1908 the park was enlarged to protect nearby Puebloan structures whose people’s moved onto the mesa tops 1,300 years ago.
Back in Bluff, we had to tour the Fort where the expedition landed back in 1880. The pioneers built a wagon road an assignment from their Church to establish a settlement. The Hole in the Rock was named after a crevice they utilized to gain access to the Colorado River gorge and the terrain was so inhospitable many of their scouts deemed it impassable, but 70 families made it through.
Another day trip, this time to Montecello where we actually found a restaurant with outside dining. We were their only customers, so I guess outside dining wasn’t that important, but it’s our rule. Good food too
Hovenweep National Monument was a “must” see, it was the only site we hadn’t seen yet.
This was an archeological site where ancestors of the Pueblo Indian tribes lived 700 years ago. Many of the structures stood right on the canyon rim and not at all practical for safety or access. They were built as if they were protecting what was below, probably water, but no one is really sure.
We did try to see the 4 corners monument, but couldn’t get beyond the locked gate, so we just ate our sandwiches in front of the armed guard.