“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
― Anne Frank,
A need to get outside and away, took us not too far from the Red Rocks of Sedona to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. A gorgeous crisp fall day in the Verde Valley, gave way to a gorgeous bit more crisper fall day in The Rim Country, as we climbed in elevation to the snow line just before Strawberry, and on through Pine. It had been over twenty years since our last visit. What was once a steep drop of a maybe trail is now a well groomed series of steps built into the still steep decline, but for the most part the Tonto Natural Bridge remained reassuringly just as we left her.
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. The bridge stands 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point. Located in a breath taking valley between Pine and Payson Arizona USA, it was first documented in 1877 a prospector named David Gowan. One story goes that he was being chased by Native Americans from the Apache Tribe and hid for two nights and three days in one of the numerous caves surrounding the bridge. After safely leaving the cave he explored the tunnel and valley, and promptly filed ownership under squatter’s rights. I can only wonder what the Native American Apache Tribe thought of this.
In 1898 he persuaded his nephew, David Gowan Goodfellow, to bring his family over from Scotland and settle the land permanently. After a week of difficult travel from Flagstaff, the Goodfellows arrived at the edge of the mountain and lowered their possessions down the 500 foot slopes into the valley by ropes and burros.
The Geology of the Natural Bridge stretches back well over a million years. Not to worry, I will only speak of the ‘recent’ geology. The western portion of Pine Creek which flows through the area was formed by rhyolitic lava. As it eroded it left purple quartz sandstone. The layers of rock then lithified (changed), shifted, and faulted. Approximately 1.7 million years ago the sea arrived to cover the entire area and leave behind mud and sand sediment. Next arrived more volcanoes covering the area with a lava basalt capping. The tectonic plates shifted, years of erosion ensued, and Pine Creek Canyon was formed. Rainwater began to seep underground through weak areas and fractures creating limestone aquifers. The Travertine Dam was formed from springs emerging and leaving behind an increasing amount of calcium carbonate. Pine Creeks water pressure built to the point of bursting through the dam, creating the Tonto Natural Bridge so many enjoy visiting today.
It’s a good healing thing to get outside and explore. It brings a sense of calm and clarity. We returned home with a decision to take a break from the TV, radio, and media for a few days. I really do think Three Dog Night said it best with their music that invites us all to go Out In The Country.
Fill your weekend with peaceful moments everyone.
Today’s Music: Out In The Country- Three Dog Night