Glow In lights up night sky at Bluff Balloon Festival

Spectacular night time Glow In at the 19th Annual Bluff International Balloon Festival

Saturday, January 14, 2017 | Pilots, community members and visitors gathered to see Bluff's night sky lit up by hot air balloons for the annual Glow In. This event is a highlight of the annual Bluff International Balloon Festival, which celebrated its 19th year this year. The weather was not good for flying this year but the pilots would not be deterred: the Glow In was as spectacular as ever as folks walked through the streets lined with balloons, warm chili (or cold ice cream sundaes) in hand.    

A Bluff Tradition: Winter Solstice Burn

Photo (c) Josh Ewing

Blue Herons Burn on Bluff Winter Solstice

This past Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 Bluff welcomed friends from across the Four Corners for the ritual burning of two giant blue heron sculptures - one as tall as 35 feet.

The herons were constructed over the past 2 months by Bluff artist Joe Pachak with as many as 50 helpers. The towering birds were made primarily of local willow and sage and when completed, were surrounded by a soft nest of willows.

The Winter Solstice is the longest and darkest night of the year so to celebrate the coming of longer, brighter days, Bluff has started a tradition of hosting winter burnings. In the past, giant mammoths, bison, and other sculptures were burned.

The wooden sculptures are lit with atl-atls, an ancient technology used in hunting by earlier paleolithic inhabitants in the area. This year, a few young kids had the honor of throwing the first flaming spears to light the birds. Watch the video below to see favorite moments of the burn.

Photo (c) Amanda Lincoln Bouchard

After months of construction, the two herons were bid farewell with a poem and interpretive dance and then burned in a quick 20 minutes. The town and its guests danced, cheered and beat drums to celebrate the past year and usher in the new.

Bluff Artist Anthony Lott to be Community Artist in the Parks

lott-butler-ii-smBluff resident and artist Anthony Lott was selected as the 2017 Community Artist in the Parks for the National Park Service. This program will give Lott the opportunity to teach, demonstrate and share his fantastic creative ability with visitors to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument and Hovenweep National Monument. lott-comb-ridge-ii-smAs the Community Artist, or artist in residence, Lott will share several hours a month between April - October with Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges and Hovenweep. Lott plans to host a couple of drawing workshops in the more heavily traveled parks and spend some quiet painting time in our southern spots. Lott teaches drawing, painting, ceramics, art appreciation, and emergency medical response at Utah State University's Blanding Campus. To get a feel for his work, check out his website. To learn more about the Artist in the Parks program, you can visit the NPS page. Congratulations to Anthony Lott, and we look forward to seeing you and your sketchbook and paint in the field!Artist Anthony Lott at work during a Plein Aire competition at Natural Bridges National Monument during their 100th Anniversary celebration.  

Bluff EMT receives Utah Distinguished Service Award

Kathy Carson receives 2016 Distinguished Service Award for emergency medical services work

img_4466After 40 years of volunteer service to bring emergency medical services to Bluff, Kathy Meck Carson has received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Emergency Medical Services Award Committee. Kathy was a founding member of the Bluff Volunteer Fire in the 1970s and a bold pioneer to women in the fire service. She rose to Director of Bluff EMS and has since lead the EMS crew, organized training, and provided an invaluable service to our small town. Kathy was nominated by her peers on the Bluff EMS crew, many of whom have come and gone throughout the years while she stayed on to provide medical services to Bluff and its neighboring Navajo communities.  In her nomination letter her teammates described how hard she worked as a mother, kindergarten teacher and EMT: “She was able to make the shift from neighbor to teacher to medical caregiver seamlessly and while always maintaining neutrality, empathy and confidentiality.” In the past, Kathy was named the San Juan County EMT of the year and the Bluff ambulance station has been dedicated to her. Bluff EMT Dawn Dilego said of Kathy, "I've been in EMS for 10 yrs and there's so many times when you feel like you're done. it's a difficult commitment....and then I remember that Kathy has hung in there for 40yrs, and  It inspires me to carry on." We are so proud of our community member and dedicated EMS volunteer Kathy Carson. Thank you for your legendary service to Bluff!      

Hovenweep: December’s National Park Getaway

The Ancient Towers of Hovenweep National Monument

December's National Park Getaway destination

Courtesy of the NPS

Courtesy of the NPS

6 ancient villages in one spectacular National Monument: This December, the National Park Service is highlighting Hovenweep National Monument as the National Park Getaway! And what perfect timing, with cooler temps, quiet days and smaller crowds in this wondrous monument just across the border in Colorado.

Photo (c) NPS

Hovenweep was occupied by the Ancestral Puebloans 800 years ago, who lived in small villages perched on canyon rims. These towers and rooms at the head of canyons offered landscape wide views as well as a deep connection to the night sky and celestial happenings.  On your visit to Hovenweep, you can see how these ancient structures have weathered the test of time well, with the ancient mortar holding together gently-shaped stones still visible. Hovenweep is also popular because it is an International Dark Sky Park, where visitors come from around the world to experience the Milky Way under pristine dark skies.

Photo (c) NPS

Lucky for you, Hovenweep is only a 50-minute drive from Bluff. From the visitor's center, you can take short walks to a large village site. We invite you to learn more about what to do on your visit to Hovenweep on our page which includes a printable itinerary or check out the National Park Service's latest blog.