July 15 – Out of Blanding

Out on south 191 to east 262 (Hatch Trading Post Rd) to see, what else, the Hatch Trading Post. It was just a ruin now, but once was an important stop.

On to Little Hovenweep, we head south on Cahone Mesa Rd and find lots of wild horses! So exciting to see – yes, a romanticized vision, but still so beautiful to watch them race across the valleys and mesas.

Continue south on Old Aneth Cutoff Rd and see Cool Springs House, then back to 262 and then right on 282 following the San Juan River into Montezuma Creek.

We are on Red Rock Mesa and spotted a road down to the river. A barbed wire fence needing opening and while Steve was doing this he suddenly spotted his very first Ringtail! He dropped the fence and tried to find it, but it was too quick and clever. He opened the gate, we drove in and parked and walked a trail down to the river. All of a sudden there were hundreds of mosquitos swarming us. Steve yelled “RUN” and we did, our second time recreating the cartoon of someone running from a swarm of something!

Back to 191 towards Bluff, to 262. We stopped at a small camp and boat launch to look at the river, and sat with three Kansas U grad students taking a break from researching on the fish in the river. They are all hopeful future fisheries workers and focused on conservation of species.

We continued on down a road in an area called Sand Island. Here, too, we find hundreds of petroglyphs proclaiming the abundance of the area. Then 163 takes us to Butler Wash and we follow the road up one side of “The Comb” and a short minute on 95 takes us down 235 on the west side of “The Comb,” called Comb Ridge through Comb Wash. Such a clear example of the process of techtonic uplift. Painted hills on this side clearly show birth through erosion, different minerals layers forming the colorful strips typical.

Take south 163 and we can see Monument Valley as we enter Valley of the Gods. At 261 we take 316 to Goosenecks. Wow!

Out of the Goosenecks, we head into Mexican Hat. The formation does look like a mustashed man wearing a sombrero. Down into the town of Mexican Hat, we spend the night on the San Juan River.

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