|Descending into the kiva at the Museum.|
|Two Mancos Gray Jars (Pueblo 1); Bluff Black on Orange Pitcher (Pueblo 1)|
|Mancos Black on White Animal Effigy (Pueblo 2).|
After getting our camp established it was time to take a short drive around the outskirts of Blanding to locate ruins in a wash (Big Canyon) just outside of town (on Ruir Road). As a small town kid from Kansas I was amazed to see a small Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling "just sitting" there in a local drainage--the Westwater Ruins. Amazing, at least for me. As dessert, the Nation's Natural Bridge is nearby in the same drainage. In western Kansas the area would be designated a state park!!
|Five Kiva Pueblo at Westwater Ruins near Blanding.|
|Nation's Natural Bridge near Blanding.|
Then it was off to visit another of my Bucket List locations—Natural Bridges National Monument (NBNM). Highway Utah 95 heads west just south of Blanding and picks up NBNM after about 30 miles. At that junction Utah 276 heads southwest to Halls Crossing on the Colorado River while Utah 95 continues 85 miles northwest to Hanksville after crossing the Colorado River at Hite. At any rate, it is best to fill the gas/diesel tank at Blanding!
|Butler Wash Pueblo.|
|Rock art panel at Butler Wash.|
|The west (back) side of Comb Ridge with Comb Wash in the foreground. K = Kayenta Formation below the Navajo. M = Moenkopi Formation below the Chinle.|
|The Bears Ears with the Wingate Sandstone (Jurassic) capping the buttes. Photo courtesy of Utah Geological Survey.|
|The Cedar Mesa Saandsone is exposed throughout the Monument. The black arrow points to Owachoma while one of the "Ears" is in the background.|
|Horsecollar Ruins in an alcove of the Cedar Mesa Sandstone. Photo courtesy of National Park Service.|
NMNM lies near the crest of the Monument Upwarp where rocks of late Paleozoic and Mesozoic (Cenozoic?) age covered the Cedar Mesa to a depth of at least 5000 feet (perhaps up to 10,000) but have since been eroded. The Laramide Orogeny (Rocky Mountain building event) pushed/squeezed up the Monument Upward in the Late Cretaceous but the Cedar Mesa was not exposed until sometime in the last six million years (Huntoon and others, 2000).
|Sipapu Bridge is the second largest natural bridge in the world, behind Rainbow Bridge in nearby Glen Canyon.|
|Kachina Bridge is the youngest of the bridges due to the thickness of the span.|
|Owachoma Bridge may be the oldest bridge (in terms of maturity) and its delicate span may be the first to fall?|