Echoes from the Road: Mokee Dugway

Scott August's journal from the road
while on tour through the Southwest.


Mokee Dugway, July 5th 2004
Cedar Mesa, Utah

While doing performances during July of 2004 I had to make my way from Southern Utah to Southwestern Colorado. There were a couple ways to go, but one of them would take me right across Cedar Mesa. As I named my record label Cedar Mesa Music after the mesa, but had never had a chance to visit it, I thought this would be a good opportunity.

Cedar Mesa is a tableland about thirty miles square located in southeastern Utah. Made up of Cedar Mesa sandstone up to 1,200 feet thick of deposited beach sand from an inland sea, laid down during the Permian Era 248 to 290 million years ago. There is only one paved road on the mesa, Utah State Hwy. 261, which runs north and south from Hwy 95 to Mexican Hat. In many ways, Cedar Mesa is in the heart of the canyon country of the Four Corners. In many ways, it's in the middle of nowhere. On it's northern end are the massive arches of Natural Bridges Nat'l Monument. It's eastern side is bordered Comb Ridge, a humpback shaped bulge of earth that runs north and south. To the south lie the broad expanses of Monument Valley and the Valley of the Gods. To the west lies Navajo Mountain. It's most famous feature Grand Gulch, slashes diagonally across it.

As I headed off from Hanksville, where the main street had been closed for a Fourth of July Parade, but that's another story. Cutting south on Hwy. 95 past the northern end of Lake Powell and Hitte's Landing I stopped at Natural Bridges, but we'll visit there another time. I asked the Ranger if I was near Cedar Mesa, "You're on it!" she replied. "Are you heading for Blanding?" She asked. "No, I'm headed south to Bluff" I replied. "Oh, will that will take you down the Mokee Dugway. You'll enjoy that, just don't go too fast..."

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