Natural Bridges National Monument

We spent three days here, in part because we were waiting out stormy weather before diving into Grand Gulch but also because we like campgrounds with picnic tables and flushies with heat when it’s storming. After time away from a campground or town, these little things feel like luxuries.

We hiked the trail running along the bottom of the canyon, passing below each of the bridges, scanning canyon walls for ruins and rock art. Tricky to spot was Horse Collar ruins but worth finding. We discovered more wonders when we went scrambling into side canyons.

I also took advantage of the quiet road winding along the canyon rim for late afternoon runs. I felt quite electrified if not a bit nervous on my first run, far from the campground, running straight towards a rapidly approaching winter storm. It was the motivation I needed to pick up my pace and race the storm back to the campground before the sleet reached me.

In the parking lot for Kachina Bridge, we found a raven attacking an RV windshield. It took us a while to realize the raven was yanking, prying and pulling off the rubber stripes from the windshield wipers. After he had succeeded with the RV, he casually sauntered along the parking lot railing, feathers puffed, over to a blue Hyundai and began jumping and pecking at that cars’ windshield. Armed with this knowledge, John promptly removed the windshield wipers from our 4-Runner, tucking them safely inside before we hit the trails. We left them off for the following week while we hiked in Grand Gulch. A good thing about the desert is you seldom need wipers.

Natural Bridges might be a small protected area but three days allowed us only to begin to unearth some of jewels and beauty she possesses.