Much of the western landscape feels like home, though not raised here. We have both been enjoying our sojourn, especially through Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado, as well as visits with friends along the way.
We arrived at Mesa Verde RV Park, in the SW corner of Colorado, the beginning of the month placing us just ¼ mi from the entrance to the National Park.
We’re situated here for easy days’ excursions to some remarkable nearby places, and also close to Cortex, Durango, Silverton and Telluride. On the top of my list was a visit to the Mesa Verde cliff dwelling.
However, a first stop was to Hovenweep National Monument which provided great information about many surrounding sites – too many to see all.
But we followed the map to a few of the more interesting sites…
,..including the Hovenweep Castle and on to Lowry Pueblo. Pit homes were the earlier developments before construction of cliff and other dwellings began. It is impressive to see the stone work that was required to construct these buildings.
We also went to Painted Hand … a bit more of a hike…
We passed on the guided tour to Balcony House, but still got a nice view. I preferred to avoid the large tour crowd – and the crawl through a small tunnel to leave the site!
The adjacent Wetherill Mesa took us to Step house for a self-guided tour. The site was occupied from 600 to 1200 AD, the pit house being the earlier occupancy. A short walk, and the Park Service attendant at the site was very helpful.
At least for the novelty of it, we drove to the 4-corners where the boundaries of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado meet… fun to stand in four states at the same time.
A swing to the east on the way back took us past Shiprock which rises up out of flat desert land to a remarkable height.
…and found yet a similar example (Flat Top Rock) on the way back to Cortez.
Needless to say, the scenery in this part of the Country is unique and spectacular. The geologic and weather forces are evident everywhere you look. A few weeks visit just begins to scratch the surface, and the history of the peoples that survived in these lands is even more fascinating.
Took a day to make the drive around the ‘million dollar highway’ – miles of more spectacular scenery – and a great season to be here!
In just two days, we’ll head east to Pagosa Springs then south to Albuquerque for the annual hot air balloon fest. This marks the beginning of the turn back east after leaving home in Maryland last April – a long and eventful 6 months or so … so far so good!!