The weather in southern Utah has been very poor for the last couple of days. We’ve seen rain, high winds, cold temperatures at various times. Yesterday we even had some white flakes blowing around us. We weren’t quite sure what they were, but a Google search indicated that it was a form of precipitation normally associated with Minnesota!
But we survived and finally headed out today for a Jeep ride. Moab seems to be the Jeep capital of the world, as nine out of ten vehicles on the road seem to be Jeeps. They even call dirt back roads Jeep roads and rate them in difficulty, going from one (easy) to ten (nuts). Since we are experienced Jeepers (we made that word up!), we decided to really challenge ourselves and try a one. Steve and Joan, fellow full-timers we met here in Moab, had told us to try the Gemini Bridge road, so off we went. About nine miles north of town the trail begins in a large gravel parking area full of trailers hauling bikes and four wheelers.
The road quickly rises as it takes you up along the side of a cliff.
After climbing up the side of the cliff for about half a mile, the road turns south into the canyon.
It then turns fairly smooth as it meanders through the rocks.
At one point we stopped to look around a bit. Pam the photographer quickly spotted a beautifully colored bird sitting atop an old Juniper stump. Knowing National Geographic would pay big bucks for a picture of this beautiful creature, she quickly adjusted the zoom on the camera to get a great closeup, then snapped the picture. But apparently this little guy didn’t want to be on the cover of some magazine, as he flew away just as she snapped the shutter. But it still turned out to be a great picture. You just have to use your imagination a bit and “see” the beautiful bird perched on the tree stump!
After about eight miles, we turned off the road on to one leading to Bull Canyon, where we understood you could see the Gemini Bridges from below. That road was much rougher than the Gemini Bridges Road, but we got through with no problem. After about three miles we parked next to a trail marker and hiked a short distance into the canyon.
As we rounded a corner we were treated to a great view of the Gemini Bridges.
The bridges look huge from below. Note the hiker standing on some rocks in the picture below. Before thousands of readers write to ask why they aren’t called arches, we’ll answer that question. They are called bridges because they are formed by water, while an arch is formed by wind. Now you know!
As we hiked the short distance back to the Jeep, Pam about gave John a heart attack when she shouted out some sort of unintelligible exclamation. John looked around, ready to defend her from an attacking mountain lion or fend off some attackers. But alas, her shouts were caused by the thrill of seeing a flower on a cactus! She has been waiting a long time to see a cactus in bloom, and there at her feet was a Hedgehog Cactus with one flower opened. Oh, the joy ! ! !
We ate a bit of lunch before driving back down the Bull Canyon Road. At times, there was no road at all, just a rocky wash to follow.
Back on Gemini Bridges Road we came to an intersection that gave us the option to take a Jeep road call “Metal Masher.” We really wanted to test our skills on a road that promises to “mash metal” but felt we didn’t have enough time, so we’ll have to return to it in another life time.
Continuing, we came to the parking area next to a short trail leading to a view of the Gemini Bridges from above.
The view of the bridges from above is even more impressive than from below.
From a distance, there appears to be only one bridge. But as you get nearer, the gap between the two appears.
There are many stories of daring, make that foolish hikers jumping the approximation six foot gap from one bridge to the next. The picture below, taken off of the Internet, shows one of these fools in mid-air. Pretty smart, don’t you think?
Three years ago an eighteen year old boy scout tried it and fell backwards as he reached the other side, falling to his death.
Just east of the bridges are some large, rocky points that provide great views of the canyons below. In the next picture you can see the trail we took earlier for our view of the bridges from below.
The snow covered La Sal Mountains to the east were spectacular!
The Gemini Bridges Road continues southeast toward Canyonlands NP, but it was getting late in the day. So we reversed course and returned back to the highway the same way we came in.
There are at least two more Jeep roads in the area we want to check out, so we’ll be back in this area again tomorrow. More on that later . . .