Unusual cloud pattern
Hiking down White Canyon from Sipapu bridge to Kachina bridge is easy hiking; very scenic; and on this day uncrowded (we didn't pass another hiker).
3. Wednesday 20th April 2011
We left our Blanding motel room early and headed back to Natural Bridges National Monument for a day hike there. We had lucked out with good weather the previous day and this day was no exception. I’m so pleased when weathermen get it wrong, and the weather is BETTER than predicted.
We hiked down to Sipapu natural bridge, then took a short hike up the small box canyon behind it; then up White Canyon a half a mile or so; and then returned to Sipapu natural bridge where we hiked down the canyon to Kachina natural bridge.
The hike down the canyon from Sipapu to Kachina natural bridge was one of the prettiest, most enjoyable hikes we took on this road trip. We didn’t meet one other hiker on the entire stretch and the hike was scenic and fun. We spent quite a bit of time below Kachina natural bridge where we met another couple our age from Flagstaff. David and Sherry exchanged some road trip stories with us, before we hiked on up to the rim of the canyon to the Kachina natural bridge trail head.
At the rim it was about 2.5 miles to hike the one way road back to our pickup truck at the Sipapu natural arch trailhead. Instead we opted to take “Mesa Trail” back to our truck. It was a little shorter route, though the ups and downs and occasional “lost cairns” on the slickrock sections certainly made it more interesting than “road walking”.
It was on this trail at 6,225’ that we had yet another surprise. Six feet off the trail was a rattlesnake. Unlike most that we have encountered in our hikes in the Southwest (we lived in Arizona for three years), this one had an “attitude”. Though we never approached it, it stayed in its coiled “striking” poise even when we stood still and at a distance. It frequently buzzed the air with its 8 to 10 button rattle.
We stepped off the trail to give this rattlesnake even more berth than the six feet off trail offered it, but as we hiked on by, it was still “coiled to strike” and buzzing its tail. Must have had a bad day.
After we got to our truck we drove on around the loop and took a quick walk down to take a look at Owachoma natural bridge. We then drove back to Blanding, stopping for one short hike along the way. We finished off this fun day with a big meal (one of several) at the Homestead Steak House in Blanding. GREAT FOOD THERE!
Ed (Flickr’s “oldwrangler”) and I had “found” this eating spot on our road trip together in March of 2011. My wife and I went back again and again to enjoy some of the best food I have ever found in a small town small café. Some of our favorites we sampled were:
A French dip sandwich (made with melted Swiss cheese, green pepper and onions).
An open face roast beef sandwich. Navajo Taco (my wife’s favorite), made with Navajo fry bread. Linguini Alfredo….and so on. Try as we did, neither of us ever had room at the end of a meal to try their black berry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. A reason to return for sure.
Wednesday night at the motel, we packed our backpacks for the next day’s trip into Grand Gulch. I checked the latest weather forecast for the area on the motel’s free use, office computer, and then we got a good night’s sleep.
CEDAR MESA ROAD TRIP 17-26TH APRIL 2011 ~ Mr. & Mrs. Oldmantravels
In all we spent ten days and nine nights on the road, camping in the back of our pickup truck two nights, sleeping in our backpacking tent in Grand Gulch, and the other six nights luxuriating in the comforts of a motel room. Gas prices ranged from a low of $3.56 a gallon to $3.89, which was the highest we paid on this trip. We saw several $4.00 a gallon signs along the way.
Our figure 8 route took us through portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. We drove a couple of roads we had never traveled; met some truly wonderful people; took many interesting day hikes to places we had never been, and tried out some new internal frame backpacks on a short backpacking trip into Grand Gulch.
Most of our activity, and time spent, was centered around the Cedar Mesa area of Southeastern Utah. Though the weather forecast did not look favorable for the first portion of our time in Utah, it turned out fine. It wasn’t until the return portion of our road trip, where we ran into several storms (thunder and lightening storms, a nasty hail storm, and a few snow storms thrown in).
If any of you are interested, in for whatever reason on following the travel portion of our road trip, you can connect these dots to form the figure 8 route we traveled, from start to finish: Home in Eastern Washington; Pendleton; Boise; Salt Lake City; Spanish Fork; Price; Green River; Hanksville; Natural Bridges National Monument; Blanding; [several days spent in the Cedar Mesa area]; Moab; Cisco; Mack; Rangely; Dinosaur; Vernal; Duchesne; Heber City; Salt Lake City; Wendover; Elko; Lamoille; Mountain City; Owyhee; Mountain Home; Boise; Pendleton; & home.
FOR THE COMPLETE DAY TO DAY NARRATIVE FOR THIS ROAD TRIP, OPEN THE "CEDAR MESA ROAD TRIP APRIL 2011' PHOTO SET FOLDER.