Bluff, Utah –Mormons’ procession

We follow # 191/163 via Blanding to Bluff. Behind Bluff we cross the Comb Ridge, a long but narrow range of hills that reveals its numberless diagonal breaches from the air, and that gives it the appearance of a comb. Right behind we turn into Comb Wash Road, one of Malcolm’s inside tips. At first we have to absolve miles of an off-road trail. Comb Wash Road is not too difficult but requests 4-wheel-drive and high clearance. It may be impassable when wet since we have to cross Comb Wash several times. It’s not suitable for bigger vehicles. In the end San Juan River is an obstacle. To get nice pictures, we have to climb Sand Juan Hill from where the view is good.

We puff when climbing uphill. How must it have been for the Mormons in the end of the 19th century when they hoisted their covered wagons with oxen and horses over the hill? Their church sent them from Escalante, Utah eastwards to friendly connect with the Indians. In the extremely difficult terrain they found themselves hemmed in between river and mountains. The only way out seemed to be San Juan Hill, as they named it. From today’s view it seems unimaginable how the Mormons brought their belongings across the steep slabs. And first of all: How did they convince their animals to do so? They had to fix seven teams of horses in front of each wagon to accomplish this maximum performance. So they guaranteed that there was always tension at the shafts even when some of the animals fell or gave up exhaustedly. Some of the oxen and horses did not survive the exertion. Still we can see the traces that the Mormons left. At especially difficult and steep sites they carved small steps into the stone to give the animals some kind of support. Even the stress marks of their wood wheels with iron fittings can still be seen. The procession made it to the Four Corners area where the believers settles down and fulfilled the inducted duty.

Back to # 163 we turn left after few more miles into Lime Ridge Road. That’s a gravel road in the beginning that worsens after a while but doesn’t contain difficulties. We will attend to the good subjects for photos tomorrow.

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