Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Flying Pig Escapes

Cadillac Ranch RV Park
Bluff, Utah

By now, you've probably heard that the inflatable Pink Floyd pig, broke loose at a California concert and flew high before exploding in the stratosphere. The pig had the word "Obama" stenciled on its belly, with a checkmark next to the word... The pig came to rest in tatters in two driveways in a California desert town. The inhabitants will split a $10,000 reward from Roger Waters.

In the morning, we hiked up to more Indian ruins. The story is the same: built from 1250 to 1275 A.D., dated by dendrochronology, abandoned for reasons unknown. I find an interesting looking bud on a cactus and eat it. I expect visions, but nothing happens.

We look at the Natural Bridges National Monument later in the day and have lunch. The monument was declared the first International Dark Sky Park. They have an astronomy program tonight and Sunday at 9PM. The weather report is for partly cloudy tonight and mostly cloudy Sunday evening.

I learn the difference between plateaus, mesas, buttes and pinnacles. They all have flat tops but are different sizes. It's just another crazy, imprecise human classification system like rivers, streams and creeks. Most of the red buttes and pinnacles we've been looking at lately are 250 million year old red petrified sand dunes.

My personal favorite is the Sipapu bridge. Sipapu is a Hopi word meaning place of original emergence. This is the place on earth from which the earliest humans emerged at the beginning of the world.

We wander down to Muley's Point and take in the vista carved by the San Juan river. Then down to the Goosenecks State Park to see the "meanders". Meanders occur when the river traps itself in a series of horseshoe bends by rapidly digging itself into soft rock. You can see the river travel ten miles to get downstream one mile.

I don't have a picture of the meanders. Even though we're looking down 1,000 feet from a bluff, you really need a helicopter to take in the bends. I do a video, but it's 76 megabytes, too big to be worth posting. The last two minutes of the video is of my tennis shoes after I put the camera strap back on my shoulder. I need to learn how to stop filming. I've got the start part figured out. The picture below is of the San Juan from the Muley's point overlook. You can just make out a dirt road below leading to the river.

There's a big "four-corners" Indian festival today right up the road in Blanding. The Zuni, Hopi and Navajo tribes will all be competing in an art festival.

I was up at 2:45 this morning. I slipped outside without spoiling my night vision and took in the stars and desert silence. For the first time I locate the Navigator's Triangle from the Milky Way, rather than the other way around. At 5 AM, the noise level has picked up. A coyote is yipping up on the bluff and someone close has a jackass. We may go camp in the Valley of the Gods today. We'll put out the lawn chairs, read novels and wait for darkfall.


  1. Great photos! Can't wait till I get a chance to visit that area. Curious, how do you like the Cadillac Ranch RV Park? That was one I thought about staying at....

  2. Cadillac ranch is very nice. It has free WI-Fi and a pond with lots of ducks and swallows.

    Donna, are you on the Women's RV Forum?