As I left home, all I really knew about my destination was that it was a few hundred miles south of the middle of nowhere.
|Goose neck campground overlooking the Colorado river|
Six driving hours later, I arrived at Goose neck primitive campgrounds to set up my base camp for the next couple of days. I pitched my tent, gathered firewood, checked my water supply, and marveled in the scenery around me. Solo travel is one thing, solo camping is quite another. I felt like an original pioneer, the bravest of souls that first set eyes upon this open landscape.
I awoke the next morning to start exploring. With no map, I followed a sign pointing me to Natural Bridges National Monument. The sky is overcast and threatening rain, with the wind cutting across my bare skin, chilling me to the bone. I grab my hoodie and camel pack, and hike down into the canyon to escape the wind and see my first bridge, Sipapu.
I as hike down, a lone crow follows me, hopping from tree to rock, curiously cocking it’s head back and forth, it’s black eyes ever steady on me as I progress further down the rock canyon. I come to a man made ladder, and descend…..
Halfway down, I see markings in the rocks from past civilizations, small shelters built into the walls. The trail has narrowed, with a great towering rock wall on one side, and a sheer drop off on the other. My heart is pounding as I make my way lower to the base of Sipapu Bridge. It does not disappoint.
As I arrive to the park entrance, I discover that there is a seventeen mile loop that you can either drive or bike through. It is a dirt road, and the park is not too crowded, so I get my mountain bike out and decide to see the park by biking through it. I always prefer looking at the world from a bike whenever possible.
Monument Valley does not let me down. I drink liters of water to keep hydrated, and push past monoliths and formations that inspire.
|halfway through the 17 mile journey|
The park offers jeep tours for those that prefer to see the park with a guide. Each group would cheer me on as they passed by ( I was the only person biking the trail that day) keeping my spirits up as I dug deep and pedaled in the red sand.
Three hours later I make it back to the park entrance, sweaty and satisfied. Time to head back to base camp to cook dinner by the fire,enjoy the sunset, and sleep under the stars before I head back home in the morning.