Monday, May 19, 2014

Bluff, Utah

We are in Bluff, Utah for 5 days.  The first evening here, Deb cooked specialty burgers that we purchased in California at Stater Brothers and froze them.  Mine was a Jalapeno Burger and it was great.  Debbie had a Bleu Cheese Burger and it made her sick within an hour.  FOOD POISONING!  On day # 2 we stayed in the RV while Debbie spent the day in the bathroom.  It took her several days to really get better.  On day # 3 We went to Hovenweep National Monument.  This place has many Native American hand made homes built around 1200 A.D.  They lived in them for nearly 100 years before they moved on to other places with water.

This is a Collard Lizard we saw at Hovenweep
Wild Horse we saw upon departing Hovenweep
 Our next stop was at Four Corners National Monument.  This is the only place where four states come together at the same point.  I am standing in New Mexico as Debbie straddles all four states, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.

On day # 4 we visited Natural Bridges National Monument.  These "bridges" were formed by rushing water.  As climate changed, water either went away or found another route.  This left behind what look like bridges.  Some are just huge, 200' wide by 200 feet high.

Debbie enjoyed the views.
 We also went to Sand Point Island on BLM land to see the petroglyphs etched into the walls sometime around 1100-1200 A.D.  They are quite interesting.

On our last day in Bluff, we visited Bluff Fort.  Like many of the forts in the southwest, they are outposts set up by the Church of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) to spread the word.  This group of around 50 families had lived in Salt Lake.  They were directed to go set up an outpost and church in Cedar City, about 300 miles south in southwest Utah.  After a few years they were directed to go to Bluff, about 200 miles east near the four corners area in southeast Utah.  They helped the Navajo and Paiute Indians and converted many of them to the Mormon religion.  This was a great recreation of the Fort Bluff.  The decedents of the original have restored the fort and many still act as docents by direction of the church, sort of a mission.  There are about 10 cabins, a Hogan lodge used by the Indians, Conestoga wagons, a well, gift store, etc.  It is very nicely done.

Some of the remnants of the original fort
A work wagon and a Conestoga wagon
Two of the many cabins
Debbie as the School Teacher
An Indian Hogan
Inside the Hogan-this is built with cedar trees and no nails
On the way to Monument Valley, we passed Mexican Hat
 Our last stop was Monument Valley.  We went to Goulding's Lodge, had lunch, visited the gift store, and went through the museum.  This lodge was built and run by Harry Goulding and his wife "Mike."
It is now a beautiful destination, featuring a hotel, stores, and tour of the Monument Valley with Navajo guides, as the valley itself is on tribal land. Before the tour we went through the museum, which is mostly a tribute to the Gouldings and to the actors and all of the movies shot there.  Most were westerns.  The famous movie "Stagecoach" by John Ford was shot here.  John Wayne made numerous westerns here including "She wore a yellow ribbon."  Over 100 movies were made here. Now, on to the tour.  It was a windy 3 hour tour in an open truck.  We got some wind burn, covered with the fine red sand, and really bounced around.  But, we got to see some great sights.
Approaching Monument Valley

This is called "Right Mitten."  There is also a Left Mitten
This formation is "Three Sisters." 
This is known as "Totem Poles."
This great photo is a Navajo looking out over Monument Valley
This is "John Wayne's Boot"
Just a wind blown hole in the wall, up about 300 feet
Another hole made by blowing sand
Debbie trying not to digest too much red sand
The old girl is up in the stagecoach

 Back at our campground, Cadillac Ranch, in the community of Bluff, Utah.  Nice people and most all of the business are run by Navajo families. It was up to 90 during the day and in the 50's at night

One of our view from the RV, cliffs, sand, a pond with turtles, frogs & birds.
Our RV is the second one in
This formation, near our RV is "Navajo Twin Sisters."

  We enjoyed our stay in Bluff, but due to Debbie's illness we skipped Canyon de Chelly, )pronounced Canyon de Shay).

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