Previously I have called the relatively bland scenery in canyon country after the deciduous leaves have fallen and before there is snow blanketing the cliffs as being “in between the colors”.
Oh, sure, since there are always the pinyon pines and the junipers, along with some evergreen shrubs, cacti and yucca there is always plenty of green around the high desert. But you don’t realize how much the brighter green of the cottonwood and box elder trees, the Singleaf Ash, and the shrubs and forbs add to the color mix in spring and summer.
Which only makes one appreciate springtime that much more.
So last week I was able to hike down into White Canyon to visit Kachina Natural Bridge once again. I thought about how favorite trails get easier the more you hike them. Never boring; there’s always more to notice that you missed previously, or that has changed since last year.
Down at the intermittent stream that drains White Canyon, Kachina Bridge was complemented by the bright springtime growth of the Fremont Cottonwood and Box-Elder trees about halfway leafed out.
Underneath the massive natural bridge — youngest of the three in the Monument — there is a large sandbar that we call the “beach”. It makes for a pleasant place to hang out, especially in afternoon sunshine. Though this day was overcast, allowing photos of the bridge and canyons without the usual high contrast of bright sunlit areas and deep shadows.
On the beach were Newberry’s Twinpod, Mountain Pepperplant, and some others.
As usual I paused to examine the numerous ancient inscriptions — both petroglyphs (pecked into the stone) and pictographs (painted on the stone, including handprints) — on the buttresses of the bridge.
Also another walk up to the sandy bench along the north buttress of the bridge. There is a very special area there, containing some small adobe structures (probably granaries or storage of special tools or ceremonial stuff), handprints, and many inscriptions pecked into the cliff face and adjoining boulders.
Photo Location: Natural Bridges National Monument, southeast Utah.
© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg