July 6, 2017, Santa Rosa, NM-
My day began, fresh and rested, with a stop at Wilson Arch, on the south end of a tourist attraction called “Hole In The Rock”, a collection of trinket shops and oddities. It was easy to avoid, being closed. The Arch, though, called out for some meditation time, so I walked to a sandstone bench, where I was able to sit undisturbed, while watching a group of other visitors, clambering up to the Arch, 300 yards away.
It was getting to be breakfast time, so I headed to the Monticello branch of Moab’s famed Peace Tree Cafe. The small eatery features a wealth of inventive breakfast items, such as Coconut French Toast, which sustained me for nearly the whole day.
Continuing to Bluff, a small settlement, off the hipster trail that encircles Moab, I found a functioning laundromat, which was sorely needed, and Bluff Fort- a restored Mormon settlement, and testimony to the hard work and suffering that pioneers experienced, in the late Nineteenth Century. This story did not, thankfully, involve conflict with Native peoples. It was all about the harsh terrain that the Mormons found, in the course of settling southeastern Utah.
Here are some scenes of the Co-op store, water wheel and a few of the sixteen cabins that greet the visitor. The first stop, in a self-guided tour, is the Old Schoolhouse. Note the beamed roof.
The brick and mortar building, below, is the Co-op, a restoration of the original, which was burned to the ground by an outlaw, in 1909, after a botched robbery attempt.
Then, it was on to the water wheel and cabins, which highlight the differences in status among the settlers.
Despite the seeming differences, it is remarkable that the group braves the harshness of the Kaiparowits Plateau, with its nearly-impenetrable maze of sandstone formations.
Among the sandstone spires in the Bluff area are the Navajo Twins, which are named for the two warrior spirits of Dineh (Navajo) tradition.
Once laundry was finished, I drove straight on down to Native American Baha’i Institute, where I left a set of crafts supplies, and headed eastward, in short order. This was punctuated by my scrunching a desperate, nearly heat-prostrated couple into my front seat, and taking them to their utility’s office. After the errands, a dinner of chicken and salad, at Gallup’s Sizzler, and a long haul, across New Mexico, brought me to the lovely Route 66 Inn, in this high desert town. The motel is run by a wonderful family- grandparents, Mom & Dad and three happy children.
It is amazing, that the pioneers accomplished so much, by working together, in enduring camaraderie, while others seem to be just spinning their wheels, by indulging in caprice and in fleeting acquaintances.
NEXT UP: Texas to Illinois