Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Day 21 - Natural Bridges National Monument

Bobbie has a secret agenda.  She is determined to get me to hike five miles a day.  Today I staged a revolt...or so I thought.

We departed a bit later since the park was only 40 miles away.  The drive was outstanding up and down canyons and washes.  The Manti-LaSal National Forest was alive with juniper and Pinyon pine trees.  It was so green we forgot for a moment we were still on the high desert plateau.  The national monument was beautifully maintained.  The entire park road system had been repaved and it was an amazingly bright and sunny day.

I agreed to hike down into the canyon to see the first bridge from close up.  It was a crazy hike down, about 1 miles in total, across narrow paths at the cliffs edge, down ladders and steps cut into the rock.

When we got to the bottom, we were at the canyon floor.  There was a cool stream running through the middle with loads of cottonwood trees, cactus, bushes of varying sizes and species, and loads of wildflowers.  It was enticing enough that we decided to hike the canyon floor to the next bridge.

It took us two hours to reach the next bridge and then a climb back up the canyon walls to the lookout point.  From there we discovered we had hiked an additional two miles from our car.  We took the over-mesa trail and headed back.  All in all we hiked the five miles anyway.  It seems as hard as I try to avoid exercise, it always seems to find me!!!

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