Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 7

Location: Comb Wash Camp We are still without internet and cell phone service.
Today we drove to Natural Bridges. We started out in bright sunshine but as we arrived at Natural Bridges the sky was black and we had rain mixed with hale. It appeared that the storm was going to last throughout the morning so we decided to return to camp and attempt to tour the Natural Bridges tomorrow.

In 1883 prospector Cass Hite wandered up White Canyon from his base camp along the Colorado River in search for gold. He found instead three magnificent bridges water had sculpted from stone.

In 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt established National Bridges National Monument.
Several names have been applied to the bridges. First named President, Senator and Congressman in order of height, the bridges were renamed Augusta, Caroline and Edwin by later explorer groups. Later the Hopi names Sipapu, Kachina and Owachomo were assigned in 1909. Sipapu means “the place of emergence,” an entryway by which the Hopi believe their ancestors came into the world. Kachina is named for rock art symbols on the bridge that resemble symbols commonly used on Kachina dolls. Owachomo means “rock mound” a feature atop the bridge’s east abutment.

Millions of years ago these sandstones were deposited and then slowly uplifted as part of the Colorado Plateau. Erosional forces gradually created today’s canyons and landscapes. National Bridges are formed by erosive action of moving water. Arches are formed by other erosional forces, mainly frost action and seeping moisture.
This area was repeatedly occupied and abandoned from 9,000 to 700 years ago. Only rock art and tools left by families hunting small game and gathering wild plants reveal that humans lived here then. Puebloan people moved onto the mesa tops 1,300 years ago to dry farm. About 900 years ago new migrants from across the San Juan River moved into small, single-family dwellings near the deepest best-watered soils. In the 1200’s farmers from Mesa Verde migrated here, but by the 1300’s the ancestral Puebloans migrated southward. Navajos and Paiutes lived in the area in historic time, and Navajo oral traditions holds that their ancestors lived among the early Puebloans.

Dinner tonight is left over sirloin steak, shrimp & scallops pasta in lobster sauce, French fries and peas.

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