Waking up Monday morning, I tried getting a good internet connection so I could work to no avail. My phone said I had 3G & 3 bars, but it wasn’t happy at Nizhoni campground. So I drove back down the long gravel road toward Blanching. There was a wide pull-out spot maybe 4 miles or so outside of town. It was up on the mesa with a view of the Abajo Mountains on one side & the entire valley below stretching all the way beyond Monument valley to the south. It really was a spectacular location to work for the day.
However, it was just one of those days… I suppose everyone has them once in a while. Where your mind obsesses over something & won’t let it go. I all of a sudden was preoccupied with a conversation I’d had days prior. Goodness. Insecurities will do a number on you if you let them that’s for sure. Anyway, I told myself I was getting myself out of my funk & going to see the sites. I was down here on this trip & I wasn’t going to let myself get in the way of enjoying it!
So I headed away from my beautiful little roadside spot after I got my work done that day. But, it just was NOT my day! The very first major corner I came to coming back into town, I heard a crash behind me in the kitchen. Damn… I had forgotten to put my kitchen box in the sink where it typically rides as I drive. I keep things like olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, spices, teas & coffee in this box and had mistakenly left it on the counter. Well, now, it had crashed all over the floor! Olive oil, soy sauce & wine everywhere! What a mess…
I pulled off the road & did a quick clean-up job, but realized I better stay in a RV park that night so I could actually do a good job cleaning, using lots of water, to clean up all the olive oil.
But, I wasn’t going to let that mess stop me either! A girl on a mission, I was headed to Natural Bridges National Monument. One of the nice things about working all day & taking in the sites in the evening is that you’re not competing with the crowds at all. Maybe there just aren’t any crowds this time of year, but regardless… its kind of cool to be in a National Monument pretty much all by yourself. I probably only saw about 8 other people the entire time I was there.
The only person I talked to was a guy from Germany. I saw a road bike loaded with gear in the parking lot & saw a guy on the trail who looked like he belonged to the bike at the first bridge. I ran into him again at the third bridge. This time we stopped & chatted as we recognized each other. He’s road biking all over the west with hopes to make it to Alaska! My gosh… way too extreme for me! I think I got a kick out of his adventure stories & he got a kick out of me working in Sofia & traveling with my cats.
There are three huge bridges that make up the Natural Bridges area and some cave dwelling ruins as well. It has a circle drive you go on to view the three bridges, but its not a well-developed park. Each bridge has a short trail you can hike on to get a better view of it or you can hike all the way down. As it was evening & my foot was still hurting from the little crash with Zeta, I didn’t want to hike all the way down, but I did hike out to the viewpoint on each trail.
The trail to the viewpoint for the first bridge, as mentioned, wasn’t too developed. I actually kind of like it that way!
The first is the Sipapu Bridge; its 220’ to the underside of the arch & 268’ wide.
The second is Kachina Bridge; its 210’ to the underside of the arch and 204’ wide.
The third is Owachomo Bridge; 106’ to the underside of the arch and 180’ wide.
I couldn’t get a good picture with my iPhone, but the Horsecollar cliff-dwelling ruins were there in the canyon as well, dated from between AD 1050 – 1300. That was a cool surprise to see!
After seeing the sites at Natural Bridges, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could make it out to the top of Moki Dugway to the Muley Point Overlook to see the sunset over Valley of the Gods. The road to the top turned off of the road I was driving on back to Blanching. Might as well try I figured.
It was a race against time again, much like last summer when I was racing to get from Cannon Beach to Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain for sunset. This time, rather than down the winding Highway 101 of the Oregon coast, I was barreling along the top of Cedar Mesa, out Highway 261. As I drove, I considered the word, barreling. It’s a pretty accurate description of how it feels driving Sofia across those back rural highways. In my mini I always feel like I’m zooming or zipping along. In Sofia, its barreling, gliding (albeit not gracefully) over all the bumps, around the corners, rattling & clanging down the road. I guess if I didn’t have disco ball chains hanging inside Sofia as well as random pieces of metal art that say things like “Dream” & “Be Yourself! Everyone else is taken” it wouldn’t rattle & clang so much. LOL!
Finally I made it to the top of Moki Dugway. I was planning to park Sofia there & take Zeta out to the overlook. But, as it would be, it just wasn’t my day… still! The sun had just set as I was racing along. The valley below was all in shadows. Wasn’t meant to be. Next trip, I’ll make it to the overlook in time to watch the sunset!
As mentioned before, I don’t really like driving in the dark to begin with… once the sun set, my goodness did it get dark quick! I was still 65 miles or so from Blanching. Onward! I at least knew which RV Park I was headed to that night. Once I arrive, I found a spot (the office was obviously closed) & parked. I was glad that I had made it out to see the sites, even with the difficulties of the day. Some days are just like that I suppose.
That evening, I talked to a friend about the conversation that had been preoccupying my mind all day & realized just how ridiculous I was being. My goodness… thankfully, there are people in our lives that can help us see things about ourselves; room for growth. It’s a learning process I think & certainly hope I’m learning these lessons so I don’t have to repeat them.
After a day like that, I was happy to crawl in bed & call it a night!