Our next stop was Blanding, UT. The last time we were in this area was when the government was shut down in 2013 and our trip down to Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon was cancelled. As a Plan B, we stayed in Blanding, UT and explored in this area. We enjoyed this part of Utah then so decided that, if we wanted a short trip after working in our house this summer, this would be fun. Blanding? Who in the world comes to Blanding? Well, judging by the campground here, lots of people do. RV’s have been rolling and out ever since we came. And, truly, there are lots of things to see and do here. As you know, Blanding is central to Hovenweep, the Natural Bridges NP, Arches and Canyonlands NP’s, a new Monument (soon to be changed) is Bear’s Ears, a cool overlook called Goosenecks, a wonderful drive through the Valley of the Gods, the Moki Dugway cut out of the side of a vertical cliff and other things. But, not a gastronomical center. Bluff, a bit further south has the restaurants. Blanding has the stores, Bluff has the restaurants.
There are grocery stores in many of these small towns but, if you’re a picky eater, you might have some problems. You want what kind of cereal? What kind of peanut butter? What kind of bread? On the other hand, I’ve always been surprised at how much they do have and we can always fill our refrigerator. This morning I went in for some bagels and English muffins - none to be had and actually, lots of the shelves in the bread section were empty and in the milk section, and the yogurt section and probably other sections of the store. Big weekend. This afternoon, we went in and they were full. Wow, the Western Family Delivery Man had emptied his truck.
We, of course, come for the hiking and there is lots around here, especially to see petroglyphs, pictographs and ancient cliff dwellings. We took a South Mule Cyn hike yesterday which, when we could find the trail (which has been somewhat washed out by all the rains and the small pools that hadn’t dried up yet) took us by a spectacular cliff dwelling called the House of Fire. It is accessible from the trail but it looks as if most of it is intact and not ravaged by vandals. At certain times of the day, the cliff walls above turn yellow and orange. Beautiful. This dwelling was build between 900 and 1400 AD.
The last time we were here, in 2013, we got on the trail at the same time as a busload of tourists. Oof-da. Today there were just a few other intrepid hikers: several from Europe, others from Vermont and Oregon. Here’s a picture up close to show you the careful artistic construction. No wonder this house is still intact after so many years.
Note the large flat rocks over and below the windows. So much fun to see things like this and try to imagine the lives of the people who lived here. What did they think? What were their amusements? Many of these dwellings are on high ledges and we’ve always wondered how kids played around here. As we were walking away from one dwelling, we met 2 young men with 3 young boys. And, sure enough, one of the young men echoed our thoughts when we remarked how scary it would be to let your kids play on these high cliffs.
We also like to see all the petroglyphs and pictographs. Here’s on we saw on a nearby wall, etched into the black ‘desert patina.’
And, that’s what we’ve been doing these days. We got the biggest projects in our house done and it’s time to play. We’ll be on the road for the next 6 weeks and back on the 29th of Oct..
We head to Hanksville, UT on Thursday. Tomorrow another hike.