Sipapu Bridge Up Close

This post continues my story of Sipapu Bridge.

I created a series of fine art prints from a visit my wife Pam and I made to Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah.  Here are a few of these prints which grace fine homes around the world.  Click any of the photographs to visit the gallery.

We walked a narrow cliff patch climbed a series of weathered pine ladders  to  achieve these views of Sipapu Bridges National Monument.

While the sky is unchanged, below the canyon rim is another world.  The black stripes of the cliffs is desert varnish, a thin deposit of clay, iron and manganese oxides.  The rock supporting the varnish is resistant to wear and protected from direct precipitation (in this case by the overhanging cliff).

Eventually we came to a ledge with a view of Sipapu Bridge.  Pam took the opportunity to capture this amazing experience.

Mike at Sipapu Bridge

A Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma). Historically, across the west, Native Americans used the wood in building their houses. They ate the berries; smoked the bark; made shoes, clothing, and rope from it.

Sipapu is a Hopi word for the small hole or indentation in the floor of kivas used by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples and modern-day Puebloans. It symbolizes the portal through which their ancient ancestors first emerged to enter the present world. A natural bridge is formed through erosion by water flowing in the stream bed of the canyon. Sipapu Bridge is 268 feet across and, standing in the stream bed, it is 220 feet above your head.

Here is a close up of the white Permian sandstone of the bridge arch.  The entire canyon is carved from this stone and named after it.


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