National weather reports high winds, dust storms and cold temperatures headed to the Bluff area. This is confirmed by Jim, the owner of Recapture Inn. He's been on the Cedar Mesa for 27 years, and in that time has become a local expert on cliff dwellings, trails, and local conditions -- another connection gem, via Phil.
We run from the storm!
Natural Bridges National Monument is where we head. We won't escape the wind and cold but we will escape the blowing dust, which in the Bluff area, swirls up from Monument Valley.
A very sweet 13-site campground, tucked away in a grove of junipers and pinyon pines, is where we camp. The trees are just tall enough and wide enough to block much of the wind without being so big they are blow down threats, as is often the fear in the northwest. We're feeling warm and cozy snuggled inside Thistle.
"When you come back out to SR 95 after the hike (South Mule Canyon), turn left and then take your first right and go through a gate. Drive in a short distance and then park when the going gets rough. Walk the road a short distance and you will come to a canyon. On both sides are tower ruins, which are pretty unique for this area."
Our first act, after we secured a camp site at Natural Bridges, was to drive the 9 mile scenic drive overlooking the canyon and three bridges,
stopping to hike Owachomo Bridge trail.
"Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by."
- Christina Rossetti