Day 4 – Don’t look down

Posted: August 15, 2010 in 2010 summer trip
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Saturday
July 24, 2010

Began our day with a drive out towards Utah.  We passed a town named Mexican Hat because of a large rock formation on the outskirts of town that resembles a Mexican sitting in the sun wearing a sombrero.

Mexican Hat rock formation that the town Mexican Hat, Utah is named after

Mexican Hat rock formation that the town Mexican Hat, Utah is named after

Further north we detoured to visit Gooseneck State park in Utah.  The park is very small and really is only a lookout point over the San Juan River.  It has a short trail out to one of the extending overlooks that is approximately 1/2 mile in length.  However even with such a short walk make sure you have water.  Shyla and I decided to take leisurely stroll out but didn’t anticipate the sun being so intense.  I can back with a nice healthy glow of red … and Shyla was so hot she had trouble drinking water at first.  The day was very bright and hazy but the view of the river meandering so far below back and forth like a snake was spectacular (this seems my favorite word but it is so hard to put into words the views).

Gooseneck State Park, Utah

Gooseneck State Park, Utah

Gooseneck State Park Utah Overlook

Gooseneck State Park Utah Overlook

Sharon and Shyla coming back from the overlook trail....Shyla's looking a little parched

Sharon and Shyla coming back from the overlook trail....Shyla's looking a little parched

After leaving Gooseneck State Park we continued north on Hwy 261 to Mokee Dugway which is part of Hwy 261 that climbs on a shelf road (narrow gravel road that climbs the side of cliffs) 1100 ft. in 3 miles with numerous hairpin switchbacks.  It is a 10% decline or incline, depending on which direction you go.  I will be honest here….i took 90% of the drive with my eyes closed….TIGHTLY!!!!  The drive should only take about 15-20 minutes (as you only travel about 5-10 miles an hour at best, however it took us nearly an hour to ascend it as Andrew was inclined to stop every 100 ft or so much to my hysterical protests to take pictures.

Mokee Dugway switchback Utah

Mokee Dugway switchback Utah

Mokee Dugway as it wind up the Mesa

Mokee Dugway as it wind up the Mesa

Hwy 261 1100 ft below that we drove on

Hwy 261 1100 ft below that we drove on

If the sign doesn't scare you away (which for many a car while we sat here it did)....then wait to you see the road as it descends over the edge!

If the sign doesn't scare you away (which for many a car while we sat here it did)....then wait to you see the road as it descends over the edge!

Sharon looking out from the top of Mokee Dugway towards the town of Mexican Hat...wearing her sombrero

Sharon looking out from the top of Mokee Dugway towards the town of Mexican Hat...wearing her sombrero

Once I had finally caught my breathe and ventured to take a look at what I had missed going up, we were off again.  the road turns back to blacktop and we traveled another 15 miles or so north to Natural Bridges National Monument.  This was an after thought actually but soooo glad we went.  the park cost $6 a person and is a scenic 9 mile loop drive that allows for viewing and hiking along the way.  The park have 3 large natural bridges and numerous cliff dwellings.  You could spend an entire day here easily but we stayed about 3-4 hours before beginning our trip back to our campsite.

One of the bridges in the park

One of the bridges in the park

Natural Bridges National Park

Natural Bridges National Park

Terrain at Natural Bridges

Terrain at Natural Bridges

We (Sharon that is) decided we should take the longer route back, which does not involve heading back down the Mokee Dungway.  This way is about 2 hours longer in driving but we witnessed some awesome sky along the way as again the skies had decided to swell up.  This time I drove while Andrew took pictures.  We saw about 5 different rainbows along the way with 2 double rainbows.  We were even privileged to be able to see and be only a couple hundred feet away from the elusive pot of gold that is claimed to be at the end of the rainbow.

Clouds brewing along Hwy 163 in Utah

Clouds brewing along Hwy 163 in Utah

double rainbow in Utah

double rainbow in Utah

In the wake of the storm brewing

In the wake of the storm brewing

As we drove near Kayneta, AZ we came across this resturant nestled in the rocks.  The town was small but very quaint.

local resturant nestled in the buttes of Utah

local resturant nestled in the buttes of Utah

Along the way we saw many a sign that looked similar to this….

Can anyone say "Gun Control?"

Can anyone say "Gun Control?"

As we neared our way back to the campsite Andrew was able to capture some fantastic sunset pictures of the area and of Monument Valley travel south on Hwy 160.

Postcard image

Postcard image

sun trying to set as the clouds roll in on Hwy 191 Utah

sun trying to set as the clouds roll in on Hwy 191 Utah

Traveling into the sunset along Hwy 191 Utah

Traveling into the sunset along Hwy 191 Utah

returning to monument valley right at dusk

returning to monument valley right at dusk

Needless to say we did not make the 9pm shower deadline…..looks like we will be sleeping in our dusty bodies tonight!

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Comments
  1. Bev &Barry says:

    Indescribably beautiful and majestic! You are right, words can’t do it justice. A very spiritual place. Fantastic photos.What an incredible day to spend together. Hang the shower! Can just imagine Andrew not being afraid of the height. I am with you Sharon – you were very brave. lots of love Mum xxxx
    PS Did you take Shzilah?

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