Wednesday, June 28, 2017

House on Fire Ruins: Bears Ears N.M.

Resting at House on Fire
Before I was a desert dweller, I lived in a busy little suburb outside Philly -- a life filled with lots of rushing around and being overly stressed about things that just don't matter. I remember seeing a picture of this crazy looking ruin, built right into the side of a cliff with what looked like flames shooting out from the top of it. That image stuck in my brain... and now many many years and lifetimes later I am here. I am sitting RIGHT HERE. That's called winning :)

My one goal for this little mini summer road trip was to find House on Fire ruins, an iconic rock "house" built thousands of years ago with red and orange striped rocks flanking the tops of the alcove that the little ruin is built inside of. House on Fire is just one of thousands of archeological sites found in Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

Posing -- super tourist-mode
You'd think with the fierce debate surrounding this National Monument we'd see a whole lot of tourists and hikers out on the trails. Not even. We saw maybe a handful of awe-inspired, nature-loving outdoor enthusiasts, enjoying a summer morning surrounded by lizards and yucca and blue skies. * Bears Ears was designated by Obama in December 2016. The monument grants federal protection to the twin geological formations that rise above the horizon, or the “Bears Ears”. It also protects the more than 2,000 square miles of desert and canyons.*

Really, really old hand prints. These were tough to see!
After many pictures were taken, we moved on through Mule Canyon to a few more ruins (there are even more if you keep hiking for about 5 miles one way -- but the summer temps were creeping up near 100 and it was probably best to come back in the fall).

We climbed up to these fragile dwellings, just past House on Fire

This very complex structure has multiple rooms and stairs! Really awesome!

multi-room dwelling nestled high into the cliffs
There are many things in life that take my breath away. Most of them live in the desert. This hike ranks up there as one of those moments where I have to stop and remember that we have such a special and beautiful planet Earth -- and that we need to protect her, fiercely.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Butler Wash Petroglyphs and Ruins: Bears Ears N.M.

Ruins built into the wall of Butler Wash

Sometimes the best getaways are not planned -- that's kinda how this trip to Bears Ears National Monument happened. Steve and I had a couple of days without the kiddos and our short list of options required 1) Somewhere we've never been 2) Escape the heat of southern Utah.

We looked at maps and forecasts and decided to roadtrip up to Bears Ears, the newly designated National Monument under Obama. There are nearly 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites found in this southeastern corner of Utah.

Waving guy. I like him.

Gorgeous panel of petroglyphs, created with such precision.

close up of ruins -- lots of pottery and grinding stones nearby

My favorite panel -- cranes and ducks. And infuriatingly present are bullet holes by some Yay-hoo loser.

More petroglyphs -- you could find art nearly every flat wall we explored.

More faded glyphs

hmmmm some non-legit but equally interesting art

I love liberal tree-hugging Utahns

Not really part of our "escape the heat" plan -- but we did see some cool stuff
All of these ruins and glyphs were within 1 mile of our parking spot, literally right off of the highway. If it wasn't 1000000 degrees we could have hiked down the wash for miles. I can't wait to go back! Such a special place -- thankful for the protection it now has and deserves.