Part of my reason for going to Bluff was to get a better sense of the area, and the actual old Mormon trail from the Colorado River across to Bluff. The stories I've read and pictures I've seen do it some justice, but as with most things in life, the best way to learn about it, is to experience it.
The entire expedition from Escalante to Bluff ended up being called the Hole in The Rock Expedition because of one small section of trail that took months to build. It was a small hole, or break, in the huge sandstone cliff that they widened to reach the Colorado River. From there they continued on across very difficult terrain to reach their destination.
While I was there, I had the chance to travel part of that trail with a few other people who knew it well. They were wonderful guides. We spent 8 hours out there driving that trail, and covered a total of about 60 miles.
This cliff is called Comb Ridge. It was one of the first main landmarks we passed as we ventured out, but one of the last obstacles faced by the explorers as they searched for a passable route.
Making our way along the trail.
One of the areas that was once part of the old trail. We hiked up along this section to see if we could locate an area that looked like it was passable. Well, it could have been. But I certainly can't image how they did it. By foot was one thing, but they also had covered wagons.
The view from on top of that section of trail.
These posts were placed all along sections of the trail to mark the original (or close to it) location of the trail.
Now this little spot marks the location of one minor mishap by me. We had come to a fairly steep section of rock. The driver would be guided down by another member of the party, so she could safely place the wheels of the jeep during the decent. I wanted to get some pictures.
I carefully stepped back onto a rock that I felt would give me a good view. But it was not a stable rock, and tumbled out from under me. I tumbled down a few feet after it. No real damage, but I still have a bruised and sore knee, and the rock rash on my arm is almost healed. My guides were very helpful. In the picture above, Mary is retrieving a first aid kit.
Being guided down the rock. It's always more exciting in person. Flat photographs just don't do it justice.
Again, photos just don't do it justice.
It was so incredible to be out there. The land is so beautifully rugged. I never worried about what time it was, or hurried to get to the "next thing". I was just there. Out in the middle of seemingly nowhere. Doing more than just traveling a broken road, but in a way, re-living an amazing, and unthinkable past.