Saturday: (04/20) 30 degrees when we awoke today. We didn't get an early start today. A walk of the campground, chat with our neighbors and showers meant we didn't get on the road until near 10am.
We took the Jeep out driving down to Mexican hat for a look. We drove some Jeep roads around the Mexican Hat Rock and down by the San Juan River there, then checked downtown Mexican Hat. Nothing in Mexican Hat to see, other than the rock.
We did notice some interesting tracks by the river there. They are ring-tailed cat tracks, a cat/raccoon like beast.
We drove over to Goosenecks State Park. It's a small picnic area on a bluff overlooking the San Juan River West of Mexican Hat. From there you have a view of a couple of the bends in the river 1000 feet below. The river course is much like a snake or goose neck There are at least seven hairpin turns of the river there. We drove out a Jeep road on the bluff edge to see some of the other bends not visible from the park.
Then we drove over to and through the Valley Of The Gods. Its a gravel road by some interesting rock forms and bluffs. You can also camp along the road. It's a long way out the dirt road to the valley. We saw a nice bouquet of red flowers along the road..
A row of "Gods".
Front view and side view of one of the monuments. It is amazing how thin they are.
Then we drove up the 10% grade on Highway 163 to Highway 95 then South a little to Natural Bridges National Monument. From the top you get a great view over the Valley of the Gods, Mexican Hat, and the Goosenecks area. With all that desert we can't understand why the road isn't straight though?
Natural Bridges NM
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I hiked the trails down to the three bridges (Sipapu, Kachina, Owachomo) there and Lou enjoyed the view from above.
Sipapu Bridge from the view point by the road.
And from down in the wash below the bridge.
Kachina Bridge from the viewpoint. The trails down to the bottom for better views are interesting.
View from the bottom of Kachina Bridge. It really doesn't want it's picture taken. It hides.
Owachomo Bridge, the best looking bridge.Left from the viewpoint. Right from down the trail near the bottom.
And another view from the opposite side from below.
I finished the last hike at 7pm. This is a good place for some future hikes so we will return. There are trails between the bridges and the gorges are quite interesting. Campsites are limited to 26 feet so we have to camp outside the Monument. The closest spot is near the junction of Highway 163 and highway 95. There are also lots of dispersed camping location further up off highway 95.
We then continued up Highway 95 to Blanding, Utah. We had dinner at the Homestead Steakhouse there. Lou had a steak and I had chicken fried steak. Everything was very good. We then got gas then hurried to the Market. Everything seemed to be closing and it was almost 9pm. We needed a few things from the market. We entered about 8:50 and even though they close at 9pm we managed to get everything we needed without being bothered and were checked out about 9:15. Then we headed home to our campsite at Sand Island, about 26 miles south of Blanding. A very nice day. We completed our todo list visiting all the things in this area. The weather was perfect all day. Tomorrow is a day off again, relaxing in camp by the river.