Monday, October 20, 2014

House on Fire

I had heard and read several blog posts about this ruin called “House on Fire” for several years, however we never had gotten into the Cedar Mesa area.  While visiting the South Eastern part of Utah, it was high on my list of attractions this time.  If you happen to be in the Cedar Mesa area, Mule Canyon to be exact then you will not want to miss this ruin. 
Mule Canyon dwellings were built and occupied by the Anasazi Indians and had outstanding scenery around them.  You have already seen some of the surrounding scenery here and here, but this was our first ruin to visit.  The understanding is these ruins are over eight hundred years old; have never been excavated or restored in any fashion.  What a precious treasure to get to visit these ruins in their nature environment without supervision, so please cherish them with care while viewing them. They are sacred sites and it is a privilege and honor for us to get to enjoy them – please show respect!  Take photos and leave no trace…only footprints in the dirt.

House on Fire - actual photo, not enhanced

Petroglyph: not sure of their authenticity

The hike to House on Fire is about 1.5 miles (one way) with a few dips to cross the wash and back up the other side, however it’s a pretty easy trail.  If you would like to continue down the trail approximately another 2.5 miles (one way) there are seven other ruins. 

Blooms along the trail

Photo Op…We saw no glorious illusion during our time there (arrived around 9:30 and left around 11:30 a.m.), however after viewing the shoots on the computer the camera caught more dramatic affects then we saw visually.  Maybe in the spring or summer time you might see the more dramatic affects visually, but not in the fall when we visited.

Directions:  The trailhead for House on Fire is located on Co. Rd 263 which is about halfway between Blanding, UT and Natural Bridges N. M. near mile marker 102 on the north side of the highway.  If you’re coming from the west it’s very easy to find- you will see a sign for ‘Mule Canyon Ruins‘- this is NOT where House on Fire is located, this is a developed site with a kiva with interpretive signing, paved parking lot, and a pit toilet.  As soon as you pass this, the turn for House on Fire will be your next left.  If you’re coming from the east, it’s the next right after mile marker 102.

Turn north onto 263 continue down the road approximately .2 miles and you will see a small turnout for parking on the right-hand side and the trailhead marker on the left.  At the trailhead and you will see a kiosk- this is where you can pay for your backcountry permit to hike to House on Fire.  Backcountry permit fees (as of 4/2012) are $2/person, or if you will be spending some time hiking in the area, you can also purchase a week permit for $5/person. (Please visit the Monticello BLM Cedar Mesa Backcountry Permits page for updated information)

10/16/14 ~D

Monument Valley Tribal Park

Mexican Hat

Jerry's brother Buck wanted to see what Mexican Hat was, so we took them by on our way to Monument Valley.

1939 Searcher Movie Set

Do we have any old western buffs in our audience?   Do you recall the first time you watched the 1939 Stagecoach?  That movie created three icons: John Wayne, John Ford, and the 30,000 acres of glory on the Utah-Arizona border known as Monument Valley.  If you’re not a western buff, perhaps you caught the stunning back drop in one of the other 11 movies filmed in the Navajo region of Monument Valley.  Can you name them?  Go here to see the list.

Monument Valley ~ Where the Earth Meets the Sky~ displays a firsthand look at one of the most tremendous natural structures created by erosion.  Time stand still for the people who live inside the “Tse-Bii-Ndzisgaii”, meaning the valley within the rock, have long sustained life through simple living. The absorbent sandstones hold underground aquifers which give moisture to crops and adequate grazing for the livestock. Southwestern corn holds an important significance besides food; whereas the sheep is also a source of wealth, next to the value of Turquoise.

Sunset over East Mitten, West Mitten, & Merrick Butte

There are several ways to enjoy seeing the valley:  your personal vehicle (motorcycles and RVs not allowed), Navajo guided tour, or from the rim at the visitor center.  Take a leisure 17 mile (allow 1.5 to 2 hours) driving through the main valley yourself with an option to a 3.3 mile scenic hiking around the West Mitten Butte (allow 1-3 hours).  Guided tours can range in price, so it’s best to do some research before coming.  When I check with the station inside the park they offered two choices: 1.5 hour tour ($75* -main valley) and 2.5 hour ($90* -main valley & backcountry).  However, I talked with a lady who had done some research on photography tours on the internet; found a Navajo who quoted her a 3.5 hour tour for $70.  Just shows it worth doing some research.  *for a group of 4

Totem Pole & The Yei Bi Chei (Navajo spiritual gods) to the east
Ford's Point looking at Three Sisters & Mitchell Mesa

Artist's Point

Experience Monument Valley as you have never seen before… The View Restaurant, Hotel & Campground offers some of the most spectacular views of Monument Valley.  
Backside over looking valley: Hotel, Restaurant, Visitor Center, Museum (left to right)

Restaurant:  Enjoy the ultimate poster window views of the Mittens while you dine.

Hotel:  The three floors provide 95 rooms, each one with a private eastern facing balcony with views unlike anywhere else in world. Our top floor features StarView rooms with unforgettable views of the stars, the entirety of Monument Valley, and serves as a perfect venue for amateur night-time long exposure photography without leaving the comfort of your room.   Other amenities include wireless internet access in the lobby, conference room, a fitness center with sunset views, flat screen televisions. Also included are in-room coffee makers with organic coffee and tea, a micro-frig, and microwave. Unique to The View is the authentic Native American d├ęcor with a locally woven Navajo Rug, traditional Navajo dye chart, and other Native American inspired decorations.  

Campground:  open March 10th – January 1st – Camping $19.95*, RVs $49.95*, or Cabins $99* (*off-season rate and increase during peak season and does not include tax).  Campers:  A full restroom and shower facility is available.  RVs: All sites are dry sites with no hookups.  Cabins: fully-furnished with private porch.  The convenience store located at the registration office sells camping supplies, food, drinks and ice. 

Go here for all your travel needs, history, and availability & rates.  

**There are some other lodging options about 6 miles across the street in the Goulding's district.  Click here for Lodge, RV & Camping. 

Bill, Ronda, Sue, Deb, Jerry ~ 2013
Jerry, Deb, Buck, Nell ~ 2014

Ronda posing @ Ford's Point ~ 2013

John Wayne calls this “God’s Treasure”; after a visit you may feel the same!   It never gets old regardless how many times we keep coming back and I’m sure it’s not our last trip.  Sunrise and sunset provided photographers some outstanding photos, so if you get a chance visit during these times.
End our trip with a beautiful sunset

10/15/14 ~D