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.   After fleeing the torrential downpour that was engulfing Lake Powell, we drove through the Utah desert, stopping to enjoy hiking and scenery.

.  Our first stop, taking most of the day, was the Natural Bridges National Monument. 

.   LINKS: 

.   National Park Service official Natural Bridges website

.   Visitor Brochure

.   USGS explanation of Natural Bridges area Geology

Map to Kayenta

. .
Natural Bridges sign Sipapu Bridge Horse Collar Ruin Kachina Bridge Owachomo Bridge Natural Bridges Map
Natural Bridges National Monument

.   Click here for a larger version of the park map  (click on the map for links to the specific bridges and our photos)

Receding Storm Canyon View
We arrived shortly after the rain stopped, enabling us to see raging waters in the river. Armstrong and White Canyons cut deep, winding grooves in the sandstone
. .
 .  How were bridges formed?  The deep, looping White and Armstrong canyons and the three bridges within them can be traced to the action of water against sandstone.

.   When a river forms a great looping meander, almost circling back on itself, it can create the thin rock wall in which natural bridges form.  Waters scrape away at both sides of the thin wall.  Eventually the river breaks through and takes the shorter course under its new bridge, ultimately carving the hole larger.

Bridges diagram

.   A natural bridge is temporary.  Blocks fall from the underside and the surfaces weather, wear and weaken.

. . .
Canyon Flowers Red Flowers
. . .
 .   The park is full of diverse wildlife, including the "crypto-biotic crust" that looks like sand pimples and apparently is crucial to sustaining life in the desert.

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