|Bluff Fort: The only original cabin still standing sits on local|
sandstone slabs to keep the wood from rotting. And keep
in mind: no chain saw to cut down those cotton wood
trees to get the logs!
Natural Bridges National Monument. What a fortuitous choice! The drive there through the red canyonlands was beautiful, and the monument uncrowded and pristine. A friendly park ranger even advised us to buy the $80 annual national parks pass and saved us a ton of $$. Thank you, ranger!
Sipapu Bridge Trail to view the first of the three natural bridges in the park from the bottom. The trail is "only" 0.6 miles but with an elevation change of 500 feet rather strenuous, and the 45 minutes it supposedly takes are a grave underestimation, especially if you're hiking in the summer, and it gets progressively hotter as you go lower. Nevertheless the challenge of this trail was great fun, as you can see from this picture - several ladders were involved as well as rock faces where you weren't quite sure where to put your boot.
The view from below was worth it, particularly because we had the little oasis down there to ourselves. We were the only hikers who made it all the way, and my kids now complain when we end up on a trail that "everybody and their mother" is on. So I am on the lookout for remote yet well established hikes. Stay tuned.