That cold front moved through the area yesterday and brought the rain for a good part of the day. The temp was 50 when we woke up this morning and northern Utah’s higher elevations got snow yesterday. Luckily for us, southern Utah had warmer temps. We had our usual morning routine and made plans for the day. We packed a lunch, donned our sweatshirts, and left the campground around 11:00. By then, the temps had warmed up to 58 and we were rested and ready to go. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and cottonball clouds. We haven’t seen these types of clouds in a very long time.
We were planning a drive to see Gemini Bridges. Again leaving town on 191, we saw that the line into Arches NP was not as long as it had been on Saturday and Sunday.
The sun was shining on those beautiful, red rock bluffs as we made our way towards Canyonlands NP. It was a picture-perfect kind of day.
We turned on Highway 313, the road to Canyonlands NP. It is 22 miles to the entrance of the park and fee station.
We pulled off at the Monitor and Merrimac Viewpoint.
Merrimac and Monitor are 2 buttes named after the Civil War Ironclad ships of the same names. If you look at the likeness of the old ships, their shapes bear a striking resemblance to these two buttes. From this viewpoint looking back in the other direction, we could see the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the distance.
They had gotten a good amount of snow in the higher elevations when the cold front came through last night.
We didn’t have to show our Lifetime Senior Pass because the road we were looking for was not within the park boundary.
The road was a wide, dirt road, easy driving by our standards.
As we climbed higher, we got some stunning views of the Monitor and Merrimac below. The colors in the valley were so vivid.
Those La Sal Mountains were calling to me and every chance I got, I had to take a picture of them. I was trying to get a picture when the tops of the mountains were visible.
We stopped for a minute so Bob could climb up on the rocks to take a panoramic shot with his phone.
While he went up, I got down to ground level to see the beautiful blooming cactus.
The skies were so clear today after the rain yesterday that we could see forever.
The road to Gemini Bridges wasn’t that long and it was very well-marked.
We arrived at the parking lot for Gemini Bridges. There were a few other vehicles already there.
We learned that the openings in rocks are called either arches or bridges depending on how they are formed. Arches are caused by erosion of the underlying rock which results in a hole. Natural bridges are caused by WATER flowing under the rocks, also resulting in a hole. The water makes the difference.
We located the path to view the Gemini Bridges and were on our way. We followed the turquoise footprints on the rocks to the location of the bridges. We wouldn’t have been able to find them without the footprints.
We arrived at the area of the bridges after a short walk. I walked up as close to the edge as I could safely.
I was a little leary about getting too close without knowing what I was walking on, but I really wanted to look down into the hole to view the bridges. We read that you could end up walking on a “bridge” that was unsafe and not know it until it was too late, so we walked very cautiously and not too close to the edge.
Bob stayed way back, but I had to see how close I could safely get to see inside.
I was able to look from the side down into the chasm that separated the two bridges.
I walked around to the other side and it turns out that what I was standing on when I took the other pictures was a “bridge”.
Other people arrived and walked onto the bridge. I was able to snap a picture of them and really wanted to walk across it myself, but Bob really didn’t want me to. I didn’t think it was scary-looking at all.
He said if I did walk on it and something happened to me, that he had Silver Singles on speed dial and he would have to use it. LOL! I didn’t do it, but I really wanted to. (This guy in the picture below is standing where I was standing to take my pictures.)
We looked around some more at the area and followed the turquoise footprints back up the trail to the Jeep.
We drove down another road from the parking lot that went towards Highway 191 and the cliff road we’ve been avoiding.
We wanted to see if we could get another view of the bridges from there. The road was covered with slick rocks and had a smooth rock surface.
When we realized we couldn’t see the bridges from here, we turned around only to see this semi-truck coming down the road with a lead truck ahead of it. What the heck? It was a US Foods delivery truck. Where would he be going? The only thing we could think of is that we had seen some buildings down in the valley when we drove in and maybe it was going there. Maybe it was a ranch or a lodge where the food was being delivered. How wild!
With the clear skies, the views were so amazing! We could see forever!!
The clouds over the mountains looked like they were dropping rain, but we couldn’t be sure.
We headed back towards the main road, Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway (313), for a few miles until we got to Mineral Bottom Road. Mineral Bottom Road is a 4WD road that goes down to the Green River with a boat launch at the bottom. Some of the river rafting trips leave from there.
The dirt road was wide, but it was a bumpy washerboard. We drove it for awhile, but decided that we had driven enough of the teeth-chattering miles, so we stopped and aired-down.
After that, we continued on with a much smoother ride. We could see that the road went on and on and we checked our GPS to find out that the road was 31 miles long and we had only gone about a third of the way.
We knew that at the end of the road there were some serious steep switchbacks down to the Green River, but we were hoping to get close enough to view the river with going that far. It was already 2:00, so we decided to give it up, turn around, and call it a day. We drove back to the main road in the Canyonlands and headed back towards the campground.
I love driving this road out through the Canyonlands. We’ve driven it a few times in the week we’ve been here. We got another great view of Balanced Rock. (We don’t know if that’s the official name, but that’s what we call it.)
There were people sledding down that sandy hill across from Arches NP again today.
We made it back to the campground around 3:00 and had cocktails out in the warm sun with Auggie before dinner. The sun was so warm, even though the temp was only 61. Bob made his delicious shrimp, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and Italian dressing over fettucini with fresh asparagus on the side for dinner. I am so lucky to have a great husband that is a good cook! We did our walk after dinner and noticed that a lot of the campers had already left after the long weekend. We have one more day in Moab and then we’re off to Dolores, CO on Wednesday. I was lucky to get us a timed-entry pass for Arches NP for tomorrow, so we can do some off-roading there. We are looking forward to being in Arches NP again.