Thursday, January 20, 2000

Good evening from Monticello,  Utah!

With the "cello" pronounced as in cellophane, this small town resides between Moab and Blanding Utah, near the eastern border with Colorado.  It is said that the name of this town is derived from Thomas Jefferson's Virginia home, which pronounces the "cello" as in the stringed instrument.  I have no explanation for that!  

Anyway, today is the second day in a row I found myself in a motel room without internet access due to digital lines!  The person at the front desk said they allow customers to use their analog fax line.  Hum, sounds an awful lot like I used to do at IBM!  I will try to upload the page tonight.

While I am still a bit apprehensive about the car, I am making progress.  I, of course, hear sounds and feel the car doing things it did not do before.  Right...Sure!!!  What tricks the mind can play!  I was feeling much better by the end of the day, and I shall continue with my travel plans.

It was a wonderful day of touring, as I saw so many different facets of Utah.  I awoke before dawn and began my drive east on Route 24, classified as a Scenic Byway in Utah.  I entered the Capitol Reef National Park as the sun was rising.  Though there were some clouds in the area, it was another beautiful sunrise.  Capitol Reef was given this name by early explorers due to the rock towers that resembled capitol buildings, and since many of these explorers used to command ships, the rocks were like reefs, protecting the shore behind them.  A scenic drive that follows the original road goes through the park.  It stops at a very narrow canyon.  Many portions of the road become a stream crossing.  Fortunately, since there was no rain, the beds were dry I did not have to ford any streams.  However, there are warning signs for areas that are subjected to flash flooding.  The road meanders along the base of the canyon, and on several occasions I saw mule deer, including quite a few bucks.  I also only saw one other car along this nine mile drive.  It was very peaceful.

Returning to Route 24, I turned east to continue my tour.  A few miles down the road was an exhibit of petroglyphs.  I stopped and read the informational panels, then walked along the path to view the petroglyphs.  Some of these were made during a time around the year 1000 by the Fremont Indians.  They were given this name because of the proximity of the Fremont river nearby.  John  C. Fremont explored the area, and the river was named after him.  What has been interesting during my trip is that I have noticed John Fremont has been mentioned in many areas along my route.  The city of Fremont California, where I left from, is named after him.  Where shall I see his name again?

I resumed my trip by continuing east on Route 24,and then east on Route 95, known as the Bicentennial Highway.  Along this route, I went through the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, got to view Lake Powell, see where the old town of Hite, Utah was before they filled Lake Powell and covered it,  and I was able to see the Colorado River.  The overlooks and pullouts along this portion of the route were incredible!

My next touring stop was the Natural Bridges National Monument.  This is the location of three large natural bridges, and there is a nine mile scenic drive to view them.  These are not to be confused with arches, which I hope to see tomorrow at the Arches National Park.  The story goes that if a hole in a rock is opened by water, and continues to grow because of water flowing through it, it is classified as a "Bridge."  If the opening in the rock is created by other elements such as a continuous freeze-thaw cycle, like the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, then it is classified as an "Arch."  There is a third option, whereas a rock has an opening that is squared off, then it is call a "Window."  Hopefully I will learn more about "Windows" tomorrow.

The views along the scenic drive are unbelievable.  The weathering and erosion of the rocks is a sight to see.  Also, many years ago, Indians settled in the area and along the groves on the side of the cliffs.  I took a trail to view the "Horsecollar Ruin."  People are not permitted close access due to the many artifacts remaining, but an impressive view can be seen.  A short drive down the road to the third natural bridge allows access to a trail that permits a hike to the bottom of the arch.  It was impressive to see it from below!

After completing my tour of Natural Bridges, I decided to do a very "touristy" thing.  I ended up being in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, all at the same time!  Yes, I went to the Four Corners Monument, the only location in the country where four states meet at one point.  Actually, it was an interesting site, and I met a couple from Illinois, and they also stood in all four states.  And they kind enough to take a picture with my camera, just to prove I was there!  Kind of a unique place, somewhat touristy, located on an Indian Reservation.

Finally, I drove back into Utah as I was going to position myself to go to Arches National Park tomorrow.  Now I am in Monticello, and after watching some of the lunar eclipse, I have finished my daily commentary and will proceed to the front desk to upload.

Routes traveled today: Utah 24 - 95 - 275 - 95 - 191 - 262 - Colorado 41 - 160 - New Mexico 597 - Colorado 160 - 41 - Utah 262 - 191

Quite an eventful day...Thanks for viewing my story...Tomorrow, if the forecasted snow is light, I will write again from Colorado...Igor

Other links:

Natural Bridges National Monument - Southern Utah Tourist Information Site


Hotel: Days Inn

Gas: $1.64

Click on picture to get enlarged view:

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Near the entrance to Capitol Reef, before sunrise.

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A tablet describing that the Colorado Plateau, which contains this park, has the best visibility in the lower 48 states.

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A view to snow capped mountains in the distance.

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A trail near the entrance road takes you up a hill the get a better view of the area.

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Mule Deer along the road in the park.  This view is looking south.

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An area that has warnings to avoid during rain.  Several times you ford dry stream beds, waiting for the rainfall to block the road.

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Notice the several layers in the rock.

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Another mule deer looking to see what is disturbing his peace!

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East of the park, another petroglyph site.

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Not as easy to see as previous sites, look along the top center towards the left.

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More visible in this picture.

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Interesting rock face.

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A few more visible drawings.

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Many interesting geological features as I traveled south-east towards Lake Powell.

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Description of a site visited by John Powell.

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Lake Powell, with beautiful rock cliffs.

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A tablet describing the former Hite City.

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Hite City was up and to the right, now covered by the lake.

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Another view as I head towards Natural Bridges.

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A tablet describing the first natural bridge you see as you take a loop road through the park.


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Sipapu Bridge just left of center.

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Another view of the Sipapu Bridge.

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Taking a trail the Horsecollar Ruin overlook, I noticed this tree. 

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Another view of Sipapu Bridge.

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Description of Horsecollar Ruin

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The ruins, along the center of the picture.

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A view above the ruins, with the ruins at the bottom of the picture.

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Along the trail from the ruins.

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Another view of the forces of nature.

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An interesting trunk along the trail.

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Description of the trail.

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The Kachina Bridge, looking north.

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Looking left (to the west) of Kachina Bridge. 

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A view of the Owachomo ridge.

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Panel describing the bridge.

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A view along the trail I took to Owachomo Bridge.

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Another view of the bridge as I approach it.

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Looking up at the interesting rock surface!

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The south leg.

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This is the view from directly underneath the bridge, looking "downstream."

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Another interesting surface shot of the underside.  Notice the cuts in the rock!

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Another view of the south support of the bridge.

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A small plant beside the trail.

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A tablet describing Bears Ears, an important part of Navajo mythology.

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The Bear's Ears seen in the distance.

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A fun road to drive, and you can follow most of it to the gap to the right of center.

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"Welcome to Beautiful Colorado" sign on my way to Four Corners.

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Panel at the visitor's center of the Four Corners Monument.

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The corners, located on a Navajo Reservation.  The platform on the left is to allow for pictures of the site, as you see to the right!

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This is another visitor of the site that was nice enough to take a picture....

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...of me standing in four states simultaneously!  (No comments, please!)

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The actual survey marker of the point where they states meet.

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I actually traveled through New Mexico to get to the site.

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My parting shot of the day, a very interesting sky!

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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