Today started with a long drive from Onion Creek back to Moab and South to Natural Bridges National Monument. Unfortunately we missed out on a campsite in Natural Bridges, which had us backtrack all the way to Comb Wash, where we had lunch under large, scrappy-looking cottonwoods. Yes, they still are my favorite trees – they exemplify the West, and nothing beats falling asleep under their rustling leaves.
Cassia discovered a nice big lizard, which was properly photographed:
After setting up tents, looking at the map and taking some more pictures we piled back into Allen and drove back, through Comb Ridge, to Butler Wash. Butler Wash contains a few Anasazi ruins and a visit to the ruins can be followed up by a great hike to the top of Comb Ridge.
We spent some time at the overlook, taking in the ruins before following a small drainage uphill towards the crest of the ridge. Our hike followed a series of ephemeral pools. A few years ago they were full of tadpoles. This year we find hardly any. Maybe we are too early in the season. The view from the ridge is as breathtaking as ever, and our students learned a bit about the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, synclines, anticlines and – of course – monoclines.
The return trip down the slickrock was pretty fast, and we decided to check out the Anasazi ruins in Mule Canyon. The entrance fee is pretty steep but well worth it. We hiked into a small canyon, enjoyed the lush vegetation and kept our eyes open for some ruins.
The ruins were not that hard to find. Clearly, some (all ?) of the thousands of visitors that cam before us had found them already and left a clear path up the side of the cliff. The ruins were small, most likely re-built, but still pretty impressive. We were glad we came. Pretty big, black rain clouds made us beat a hasty retreat but, again, we didn’t see more than a few sprinkles, though it rained quite a bit later that night.