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2017-10-05  
2016-04-18  
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Natural Bridges NM, UT
mini location map2017-10-05
23 by photographer avatarAZWanderingBear
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Natural Bridges NM, UT 
Natural Bridges NM, UT
 
Hiking avatar Oct 05 2017
AZWanderingBear
Hiking10.54 Miles 1,157 AEG
Hiking10.54 Miles
1,157 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Day 2 of my 14-day found me in Natural Bridges NM. I set up camp, spent some time talking to the helpful rangers and then drove the loop hitting all the overlooks. The ruins were interesting looking from the rim, but there wasn't a way to get closer that I could sleuth out.Camp was a quiet night grilling a burger and turning in early. I don't sleep well in campgrounds -too many people and noises.

Headed out to do the Sipapu-Owachomo Loop following the ranger's good advice and leaving my vehicle at Owachomo and hiking counter clockwise starting across the mesa near sunrise. I thought the mesa portion of the hike would be boring, but it was great. There were huge areas of cryptobiotic soil, the cedar pinion forest, animal sounds, slick rock areas. Nice way to start.

The drop into Sipapu requires ladders, got to love a hike that requires ladders. I'd read a lot about this bridge in particular and enjoyed knowing the story as I descended. It is truly impressive to be under this formation.

The hike along the bottom of the drainage was nice. The trail isn't maintained and can be difficult to follow sometimes as it crosses and recrosses the stream bed, but you can't really get lost. Its pretty lush with cottonwoods, willows, tamarisk and two very out of place spruce trees. Some potholes of water were easily easily worked around and surrounded by deer, coyote and bobcat tracks. The ranger had warned me of extensive muddy areas, but those had largely dried and the little remaining was easily avoided. The quietness was a physical thing. I stepped on a dried cottonwood stick and the resulting loud snap seemed a violation of local protocol.

Passed one hiker going the other way before arriving at Kachina Bridge. The abutments of Kachina are just simply massive. A couple had dropped down from the overlook above. We exchanged pleasantries as I took my lunch in the shade of the bridge.

I was mindful of the ranger's admonition to NOT follow the White Canyon Creek drainage NW. "The next stop is Lake Powell in 50 miles. You won't make it," he said. But the trail took me upslope and I worried I was headed for the overlook and almost dropped back into the drainage below, only to realize going up was required to avoid the 80' pour off between Kachina and Owachomo. The remaining hike to Owachomo was through a narrowing canyon with the sun in my face. The trail became fainter, harder to follow until finally I saw the bridge and knew the truck was close by.

Stopped back at the visitor center to refill my water bottles and debrief the ranger on the trail. We swapped stories for a bit and then I headed back to camp for a nap in my tent cot and one more evening before pressing on the next morning.
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AZWanderingBear's
184 Photosets

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