President’s Day Weekend on Cedar Mesa

Saturday – Monday, February 14-16, 2015

Diane and I spent Valentine’s Day and the long President’s Day weekend on Cedar Mesa for our very first camping trip of the year. We setup our base-camp at the Natural Bridges National Monument campground and enjoyed the beautiful spring-like weather all weekend. The temperature never dropped below freezing at night and was a very comfortable mid-sixties during the day. It was nice hiking weather in the middle of February and a great time to get outside to explore the Colorado Plateau! We spent the weekend revisiting a few ruins and searching remote canyons for new ones. Here are plenty of photos from our weekend adventure!

I have visited the Moon House Ruins a few times in the past, but Diane had never been here. I finally managed to get some photos I am happy with of these ruins.

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Behind the Wall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The highlight of our weekend was finding this amazing pot. I’ve always wanted to see a complete pot out in the wilderness, and I’m glad I’ve finally been able to have the experience. When I first took a photo of this pot I envisioned it in black and white.

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Ancient Vessel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Front Step by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The warmer temperatures melted off most of the snow on the mesa tops which filled up these large potholes.

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Snowmelt by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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McLoyd Granary by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Warm reflected light compliments these pictographs at the Moon House Ruins.

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Moon House Pictographs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A hoodoo stands at the edge of a Cedar Mesa canyon.

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Cedar Mesa Hoodoo by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Detail of the painted wall in the Moon House Ruins.

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Stripe by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A hoodoo reflected in a small puddle.

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Hoodoo Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Our base-camp at Natural Bridges with the Bear’s Ears in the background.

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Natural Bridges Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This interior room at the Moon House Ruins is very difficult to get a decent photo of. Not only is it very dark in there, the only light that does get in there comes through the only door, so keeping your camera and tripod shadow out of the photo is impossible. Here’s my best attempt.

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Moon Room by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Beautiful reflected light above the exterior wall at Moon House Ruins.

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Moon House Ruin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Decorative by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a color version of the beautiful pot that we found.

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The Pot by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Round Room by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Red Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Driving along Comb Ridge near sunset.

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Along the Comb by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Diane climbing down from the rim of a Cedar Mesa canyon.

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Climbing Down by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Dark Granary by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Two Rooms by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Around the Bend by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Ancient Doorway by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The pot was well protected under a shallow ledge.

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In Situ by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Corncob Ruins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Corncob Granary by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Granary on Fire by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One last photo of the pot showing the large crack on the other side.

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Cracked by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Interior by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We left for home on Monday morning, but not without stopping at Looking Glass Rock on the way.

Moss Back Butte shortly after sunset as we left Natural Bridges.

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Moss Back Butte by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

With the warmer temperatures in the afternoons, sections of the roads became a little muddy.

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Leaving Natural Bridges by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The large alcove in Looking Glass Rock containing the arch.

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Looking Glass Rock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Through the looking glass…

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Through the Looking Glass by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Some faint Barrier Canyon Style pictographs that have been vandalized over the years.

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Looking Glass Pictographs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A snowstorm over the Book Cliffs.

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Distant Snowstorm by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Shadows and scattered storms over the Grand Valley.

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Grand Valley Desert by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> President’s Day Weekend on Cedar Mesa Photo Gallery


8 Comments

  1. Cathy February 19, 2015 8:49 pm  Reply

    Love your pictures, are Moon House ruins close to Natural Bridges, have seen many pictures of them, but never been there. I envy you with all of your trips through the Wave and I’ve wondered if sometimes people just show up and go through without a permit. I tried to get a permit over the President’s Day weekend along with 68 other people that showed up, gave up and drove to Green River Utah to search out Colonade Arch, I’ve looked for it two times now, but can’t seem to find it. Did some Jeeping in Tushar Canyon drove and drove until we came to an impasse and a boulder the size of a bus was across the road. I was under the impression that Tusher connected with Sego Canyon, but a local told me no that Sego is connected with Coal Canyon any way found an interesting wash/canyon up Tusher and will go back to explore later. May I ask you in the future on how to get to various places, because it looks like you have all ready been to many that I have not seen yet. Thank you

    • Randy Langstraat February 19, 2015 9:03 pm  Reply

      Moon House is not too close to Natural Bridges, but they are both on Cedar Mesa, so it’s not too far. I get all my permits for The Wave online…I personally wouldn’t bother driving down there without one hoping to get one. You can ask me about places, but there are some that I will not share, so it depends on what you ask me for.

  2. John Spurr February 20, 2015 8:05 pm  Reply

    As always, really nice photographs…

  3. Doug S February 22, 2015 10:11 am  Reply

    Incredible shots, love the pottery, what a find, it is amazing it is still there. Randy have you ever thought of making a book of the rock art, ruins that you have photographed, they truly are one of a kind.

    • Randy Langstraat February 22, 2015 10:17 am  Reply

      Thank you Doug. I have had the thought about making a book, but I really don’t think there would be enough interest to make it worth my time and effort.

  4. Sharon Ford March 14, 2015 2:52 am  Reply

    So enjoyed reading about your trip. The ruins and the pottery are incredible, as are your beautiful images. Is the dark room in Moon House Ruin as large as it looks. L also enjoyed your stop at Looking Glass Hole. I have never seen any of these places, so really enjoy your images and tales.

  5. Harry Schmeichel March 19, 2015 10:34 pm  Reply

    Randy,
    I’m just wondering how you found the Roberts pot. Did you read David Roberts book “In Search of the Old Ones”? I first found it in 2002 after reading his book.

  6. stu March 26, 2015 1:43 pm  Reply

    Hey Randy, Great Stuff! I love the adventure and exploring down there. I have heard you can find new ruins and but I am skeptical. Amazing you found a pot! I have been day dreaming for a few months to get down there now. are there any smaller pictographs or petroglyphs that are on boulders that have a lot of sky in the back ground? I want to try to get a sunrise or sunset shot for my collection. Thanks Stu

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