Monday, June 04, 2007
The Comforts of Camp and Other Thoughts
Natural Bridges National Monument, in Utah, has three spectacular stone bridges. I hate to belittle them, but I believe my favorite part of the park was the campground! There were only thirteen sites and they were spacious. Each had a large sandbox to pitch the tent - sleeping on the level and without rocks poking you means a lot this far into a trip. You could not see the neighboring campsites from our area, and many birds and a rabbit visited us throughout the evening.
This night was the quietest, most peaceful one of the entire trip. The park is a certified "Dark Skies" park, which means that it provides excellent stargazing opportunities. When I went outside the tent once night had fallen, I became a believer! I know many of the basic constellations, but still had trouble picking them out. All of the stars were so bright, it made finding the main stars in the constellation difficult.
I wasn't totally distracted by the camping, though. This is Owachomo Bridge, the bridge with the thinnest "top". When we visited this bridge late in the day, a busload of European tourists was there, too. On our way back to the car, we found a discarded water bottle. I also saw that some of the flowers I photographed along the trail were now missing. I was surprised that visitors who obviously invested a lot of money in traveling were so careless with the natural beauty they came to see.
On a side note, Natural Bridges runs entirely on solar power. The large array is quite close to the visitor center but is well screened by the surrounding vegetation. The Park Service itself is trying to limit its impact on the environment.