April 27, 2015

Bluff, Ut -River house Ruins and San Juan Hill passage

  Today April 26th 2015 we drove south on Hwy 163 and 191 intersection, 3 mi south to a dirt  road to the left to stage , or cross the bridge to dirt road 235 to the left, if you go back in one mile there are some old wooden corrals you can park at boondock at. From this point it is a 4x4 road.

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  We traveled south and enjoyed Combs Ridge to our left, the river to our right plus some more mountain ridges. our first stop was at the San Juan Hill where the Mormons in 1880 drove their wagon train up the only hill passable up Combs Ridge.  Combs ridge is 120 miles long and 300-900 ft high. and one mile wide.  At the sign:  You can walk up the San Juan Hill and see where they piled rocks on the downward side so the wagons to navigate the steep rock ravine to the top = 1500 ft long. What hardship they endured. 37*13.317N 109*41.857W

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Then we stopped along the river, stone foundation is visible, where a trading post was operating in 1885, run by Amasa Barton who traded with the Navajo Indians. This was a good place to cross the San Juan river. In this area you can look across the river and see Mule's Ear peak and wild burros grazing.

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  Then we came to the River Ruins high up on the cliff. What a perfect spot for a home, the river below, it is a passive solar home,  the winter sun streaming in and the hot summer sun doesn't come in. There are several rooms, just be careful not to pull on the rocks when investigating this area. You will also see petroglyphs on the ceiling and in the rooms. 37*13.367 N 109*41.279W

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Further west along the ledge walkway you will find a grainery, all built with stone to store their corn, beans and squash. We did find two inch long corn cobs in the house area.

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  While we were looking at the ruins, a rain shower came thru and we spent an hour sitting under the cave/ruins enjoying the sights and imagining the life these 800 yr old Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellers. They left the area in the 1200's.

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We drove further and saw some petroglyphs on the varnish wall of the canyon.               37*13.662N        109*40.706W

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Down 1.5 miles we came to a barbed wire fence, so we walked thru to view the Bartlet Wash Petroglyphs Panel. Many of these are centuries old, and some newer, still 200 yrs old. Some places you can see where Anthropologist have numbered the sights.  37*15.995 N  109*36.940WIMG_0162IMG_0160

We did view the river off and on all along the trail. We returned to the area of San Juan Hill and took another trail east where we found an alcove and a pool of fresh water 20x20. 37*13.574N 109*41.385W

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It was a fascinating day of ancient sights.  We camped at Sand Island Rec area BLM park.


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