The plan was to 4WD drive from Moab through the slick-rock area then on to see Newspaper Rock. This is a very large pictograph site. However, we were also planning to see the House on Fire Ruins in Mule Canyon. To see the ruins seemingly “on fire” you had to be there for mid-morning light, so we bypassed the 4WD and Newspaper Rock. Turned out to be a good decision. After a little confusion in finding the trail head for House on Fire, we hiked up the pretty Mule Canyon and the ruins were about 1 ½ mile along the trail. At first it didn’t look like the fire phenomenon, but once we got at the right angle to the sun, it just popped. (click to enlarge)
We were on our way to camp at Natural Bridges National Park, and hike a little 3 hour loop at the bottom of the canyon through the natural bridges. (Factoid: Natural bridges look like arches, but they are formed by flowing water, while arches are formed by erosion factors.) The old Anasazi ruins at the canyon bottom were impressive.
The campground was full and the rangers directed us to Goosenecks State Park, which was on our agenda anyway. We pulled into the campground and walked over to the canyon to see the spectacular San Juan River twisting and turning, flowing a distance of over 6 miles while advancing only 1 1/2 miles west on its way to Lake Powell. There were no lines, buses, or parking lots to contend with as is at the famous Horseshoe Bend. A great $10 campsite with a view.
The next morning we toured Valley of the Gods, a very scenic valley with red mesas, buttes and towers. Not as popular as Monument Valley, but worth the trip. On the way to Monument Valley Dorie tried to make a horse friend, but he was a little too wild. In the distance, the mountains were striated with various colors which the locals call this Navajo tapestry. (click to enlarge)
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