Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley, Lee's Ferry, Glen Canyon Dam, and Four Corners

We took a quick little road trip to some spots that I have never been to before but lived fairly close to. Unfortunately it was windy and dusty in Monument Valley and so the pictures aren't that great. It kept us from going into the Park itself but we did get some great views from the road.

This was an overlook of the Vermilion cliffs near Page, Arizona

We stopped to help some poor guy who said he needed a start but it wouldn't start. Then he said he would just wait for his girlfriend to come back since she had gone for help. It was frustrating not to be able to actually help him

They had some pretty cool dessert flowers out since it is springtime

The first place we stopped was Lee's Ferry. It was the only place to cross the Colorado River for hundreds of miles back in the old days

This is where lots of Colorado River runners start

This was where the actual crossing would take place

This was called "Balancing Rock"

Then we stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam which was so awesome. The history of the place is amazing. We stopped inside the visitor's center there for a while because it was so interesting.

Monument Valley was windy and so the visibility was bad. I intend to go back some day with my camera and no kids and take some real pictures

We saw Indians walking out in the middle of the desert several times. It was hard to tell where they were going actually since there wasn't much around

This is called "Mexican Hat". There is a little town with a motel that you just might miss if you blink

Heading on into Colorado we ran into some goats being herded we thought, except there was no one to herd them. They must have know where they were going all my themselves

The next place we hit was the "Four Corners"

We had heard that the monument wasn't exactly in the correct place and so David used his GPS to see and sure enough it was exactly correct. It's a good thing we checked!

You could buy beautiful Indian Jewelry there

That night we made it all the way to Cortez, Colorado and stayed in the Econolodge which I really liked. The price was good and the pool was great except that it was a little cool so early in the season

The next day we spent all day at Mesa Verde National Park. I would suggest two days if you have the time. There was so much to see and we only saw a fraction of it. We mostly stopped at lookouts and did two hikes

We saw wild horses

This was a look out tower then think and maybe a ceremonial meeting place as well. There were some 3,000 people living in the Mesa Verde area

They had a fire here a number of years ago, but it looks like it was just yesterday that it happened

They had a great picnic spot there in the park. It was perfect weather an no gnats! Rex hates gnats

They have a great little museum that you can go through and then take a hike to the Spruce Tree House ruins. You don't have to have a ticket to take this hike and I must say it was my favorite of the two hikes we did

There were park rangers there to make sure nobody sat on the walls and stayed on the walk ways, but other than that you were free to explore

On the way down the trail I saw this sight of the moon just above the ruins

A close up of Spruce House

The still aren't sure exactly what these undergrounds pits were used for

We did get to climb down into one though and it was the coolest thing ever!

My feet going down into a cliff dweller or Anasazi room.

Megan down inside the room

I got the coolest picture ever down there

Anna and Abby helping Grandpa back up the trail

There are over 600 cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde. Here are some that you can't get to but you can see from a distance. They were all over the place

Now we get to Cliff Palace which is the largest of all the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde and you have to get a ticket at the Visitor's center to schedule a hike down in with a Park Ranger. It costs $3 per person

Cliff Palace just before we begin the hike

Grandpa waving at us from the viewpoint. He and Grandma stayed up there to watch Joseph while we all hike down. After chasing Joseph for an hour, I think they decided it would have been less work to just make the hike with us!

So So Cool!

Anna and Abby having fun

The wood is original and there was some cool Indian art work up in the top of this tower

You can see some of the artwork here

Then we stopped at the highest look out in Mesa Verde. We could see 200 miles one direction and at least 100 the other. Dad was loving it and telling me what all the names of the mountains were. Geography is one of his favorite things. I think he missed his calling in life

Shiprock in the distance

It was a great trip as always and we were so glad Grandma and Grandpa could come with us. They will always have a special bond with my children because of these trips and I am very grateful for that!

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