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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
As we drove near Kayneta, AZ we came across this resturant nestled in the rocks. The town was small but very quaint.
Along the way we saw many a sign that looked similar to this….
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.
Needless to say we did not make the 9pm shower deadline…..looks like we will be sleeping in our dusty bodies tonight!