Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Natural Bridges – Trip Day: 8

Sipapu Bridge
Originally uploaded by billread.
This day had to be one of my favorites. This was a day where I wanted to be cut loose with the boys for about 4 hours. The bridges were all very cool, but exploring around them was the best part.

The first picture, of Owachomo Bridge, was actually the last bridge we saw. We were able to hike down underneath this bridge to check it out. The riverbed was incredible. The scarring and erosion evident was beautiful. I ran around from one area to the next having a blast. We got right down to the standing water at the bottom of the riverbed. I can only imagine what it must be like to see the water crashing through there after a downpour.

The second picture is from the first bridge. The boys and I took a 1.2 mile hike down into the ravine to get a look at the other side. The bridge was nice, but the ravine was cooler. The cliff walls came straight down, then tucked under just above the wide ledge we were walking along. It felt like we were way out in some alien country. We wanted to run and jump and climb everything. This is what boys are made for. When the boys are a bit older, about the time Heyward is stronger than me, we'll have to go back to camp-out and hike the canyons.

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings – Trip Day: 7

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings
Originally uploaded by billread.
Mesa Verde was our next stop. This series of cliff dwellings is about 1,400 years old.

Most of the dwellings are hanging on the sides of deep canyons. The canyons are so deep that my camera usually failed to take them in from top to bottom—making it hard to see how high they really are. There were also a few dwellings on the tops of the canyons, and some ceremonial buildings.

We got to explore only about 1/3 of the park. We didn't want to do anything that required a lot of walking so that mom and Virginia didn't get left behind too often. All-in-all we put in about 2 hours worth of sightseeing, and about 4 hours of driving. On the way home we stopped at a steakhouse for dinner. I had to be careful about eating too much so I could stay awake on the ride home.

Road to Monticello – Trip Day: 6

Wukoki Pueblo
Originally uploaded by billread.

Along the Roadside
Originally uploaded by billread.
We had no plans for the drive up to Monticello, UT. We knew it would be about 6 hours, and wanted to take a stop or two in along the way.

Right outside Flagstaff, we came upon Sunset Crater Volcano National Park. The park contained the Wukoki and Wupatki pueblos and a not-so-ancient volcano. We spent way too much time in the park, touring both pueblos and generally acting like startled monkeys, stopping to look at everything.

After that we headed north and immediately ran in to the edge of the Painted Desert. We stopped and got out to take pictures. Jane and mom made us swear to keep the stops down to a minimum after that. Which we did, sort of. The outcroppings of rock throughout this area of Utah are nothing short of astonishing to us lowcountry folk.

We tried to go in to the Navajo National Monument, but realizing how late in the day it was, we turned back. It was a shame, too, because had we not spent so much time stopping earlier in the day, Navajo would have been a much more spectacular place to see.

Take a Break – Trip Day: 5

Take a Break
Originally uploaded by billread.
Knowing we had an 8 hour drive the next day up to Monticello, UT, we took a break from sightseeing. Dad and I went on an unsuccessful quest for camera lenses, while mom hung out at the hotel and Jane took the kids to a park to play. After we all returned, I cut Jane and mom loose to shop in Flagstaff while I took the kids swimming at the hotel pool.