We have now left Arizona after wandering around the state for a couple of months and have moved on to the four corners section of Utah, one of our favorite places. We are now tucked nicely into site 12 at Cadillac RV Park in downtown Bluff, UT (pop. 320).
Our friends from Florida, David and Karen (oh yes, Cody too!), followed from Sedona a couple of days later and are parked next to us. Together we are going to enjoy some of the great hiking in this area.
Our first activity was to walk across the street for a visit to Bluff Fort Visitor Center. Bluff Fort was the original group of homes built by Mormon pioneers who arrived in Bluff in 1878 after an unbelievably difficult six month journey across southern Utah. We watched a video and talked to two docents about the last difficult part of their journey, the climb over Comb Ridge just south of Bluff. After learning about the pioneers, we got into the Jeep and headed out to visit the site.
To get to the site we drove seven miles to the south on Rte. 163. At the bottom of a cut through Comb Ridge we left the highway and drove about four miles east on a dusty, one lane, dirt road. The road has many areas of deep sand that required the use of four wheel drive. In other areas the path was very rocky requiring a high clearance vehicle.
After a bumpy, dusty four miles we came to our destination. The pioneers who made the almost impossible climb up this hill named it San Juan Hill. Looking at the photo below, the pioneers drove their wagons on to the rocks right where the sign is today. They first moved up the rocks to the left, then turned right and went diagonally up to the arrow. You can just see a faint line of the trail they hand dug into the hillside.
There are many spots where you can see cuts in the rocks left by the iron rim on the wheels of the wagons.
Near the top someone in the group etched “We thank thee O God” into the rock.
Standing at the top it is difficult to imagine how 250 Mormon pioneers, after six months of struggling through some of the harshest terrain in North America, could drive 27 wooden wagons up that hill!
Little Cody has turned out to be quite the energetic hiker. He climbed up the steep rocks and back down with no problem. But he is a pretty intelligent fellow and hustled back to the Jeep ahead of us. Once there he found a shady spot to rest and wait for our return.
Once back at the Jeep we continued on the dirt road another mile or so for a visit to the River House Ruins. The stone dwellings were occupied by Ancestral Puebloans between 900 and the late 1200s.
After a long day of exploring we worked up quite an appetite, so we stopped at what seems to be the best restaurant in Bluff, the Twin Rocks Cafe. The food is very good here, especially the soup and Indian Fry Bread!
We will be in Bluff for about a week and have a number of great adventures planned. More on that later . . .