Day 4
Miles: 857
Location: Natural Bridges National Monument and Hovenweep National Monument, Southeastern Utah
A 180 foot long Natural Bridge
There simply is not a place on Earth quite like Southern Utah. The incredible natural architecture is just overwhelming at times. I think that this will always remain my favorite part of the country.Today's adventure took me under three of the worlds most stunning examples of natural bridges in the aptly named "Natural Bridges National Monument"

After a rather poor night's sleep, I headed off to the monument. The best way to see this place is by taking the 8.4 mile hike which passes under the parks bridges. Its not a difficult hike and the canyon and bridges will prevent you from ever getting tired!
Sipapu Bridge, the second largest in the World
Sipapu Bridge was an easy 1 mile descent into the canyon. This is the second largest natural bridge in the world at 225 feet. You could fit a one lane highway on the top of it and fit a whole house underneath. The funniest thing about it is there's only a trickle of a creek flowing underneath! That must have taken a while!

I should note that natural bridges are caused by flowing water. Often what will happen is there will be an acute bend in a river at a place with softer rock. Over time, the river will wear away at the bend in the river and eventually push entirely through it! This changes the course of the river and the bridge will expand in size.
Kachina Bridge
After a few more miles of hiking in the canyon, I came across Kachina Bridge. This one was as thick as a football field is long. This is actually a much younger bridge because it hasn't seen the magnitude of erosion that the others have experienced. I ate lunch under the bridge!

The last bridge was my absolute favorite. It looked completely staged! Owachomu bridge is only 9 feet thick at the center and 180ft long! These bridges were the perfect compliment to an equally beautiful canyon. If I could, I would post the other 100 pictures that I took!
Hovenweep National Monument
One of the rangers informed me that Hovenweep National Monument was only a hop, skip and a jump away from Natural Bridges! This is great news, because I intend to see every National Park and Monument on the map; I headed off!

This park is on the Utah-Colorado boarder and preserves an Ancient Pueblo Peoples settlement. The term "Ancient Pueblo People" has replaced the term "Anasazi" because the Ancient Pueblo People are the cultural root of several Native American tribes. This settlement was in a very inhospitable part of the desert and the people used dry farming techniques and incredible resourcefulness to survive. The 2.2 mile hike around the park was an excellent way to see the dozens of ruins.

With that, I was off to see the crown jewel of ancient ruins at Mesa Verde National Park!