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July 24, 25 - Southeast Utah
On Tuesday, I left Moab, and drove south to Newspaper Rock (lots of petroglyphs), and then through the Manti-Lasal National Forest — a very different climate than what I'd been experiencing for the past few weeks!
The second photo shows an example of cryptobiotic soil, spongy desert soil which apparently takes many years to regrow if crushed by foot or tire. Therefore, I was very careful to stay on slickrock patches when walking off-road/trail (and to not drive off-trail).
The next morning, I crossed the river and hiked up to the ruins.
The banks of the river itself were covered with ancient potsherds, that were slowly getting eroded away and washed into the river. It was difficult to walk without stepping on them. A mile west up into the hill were the cliff dwellings. Apparently no attempt has been made yet to restore or excavate these structures, but other visitors have made piles of items they've found — pottery, tools, and mini-corn husks.
Exiting Comb Ridge to the south, I took Utah 163 west to
Valley of the Gods
Heading west, I soon reached the Moki Dugway, where the paved road
turns to gravel and climbs 1000 ft up the hillside