Monthly Archives: December 2013

They packed up, gave notice & drove across America – from Jersey to Colorado.

Welcome to your new Colorado life Ash & Tom!

What an awesome way to end 2013 🙂

 

Welcome to Colorado!

Welcome to Colorado!

new BFFs, Ro & Marty

new BFFs, Ro & Marty

 

 

After a super fun day exploring ancient Pueblo ruins at Mesa Verde, woke early excited about my Day Two adventure – dog sledding! Another bucket list activity – check, done 🙂

Met up with 2 guides (‘Kentucky’ Chris & Sarah) from Durango Dog Ranch & 2 other day mushers from Sweden (Monica & Ida) at a local coffee house in Mancos – approx 35 minutes west of Durango on Highway 160.

Because of recent warm weather (past 2 days), drove deep into Mancos State Park in search of adequate snow for sledding.  Kentucky Chris who lives nearby in a yurt (whole lotta back-story here) gave us our safety/do/don’t speech & we started unloading dogs.  Sarah showed how to harness the friendlier dogs – lotta yapping, lotta fun.

 

What didn’t I know?  Alaskan huskies are mutts.  Each have a small percentage of Siberian husky in their bloodline (which makes them wanna pull) but then the remainder is greyhound or pointer generally – added for speed.

What else?  Siberian huskies don’t really love people.  Their temperament are more like cats.  They really don’t need us.  They’ll take food of course but not a fan of petting or human affection.  Today’s huskies with a higher Siberian mix were very standoff-ish, sported sky-blue eyes – and made the best sled dogs.

What about whips?  Yea, they thought I was crazy.  I guess that ended sometime around Jack London.   Now it’s all voice commands – HAW for left, GEE for right, YIP YIP for go & WHOA for stop.

Where do the humans go?  One stands on the back, one rides on an ice chest in the sled (where supplies generally go).

 

Yip, Yip & away we went.

These dogs LOVE to run.  Had to stop twice to avoid cattle guards (which can break the dogs’ legs) & with each stop, one of our lead dogs in particular kept jumping straight up & down – and barking wildly.  LOVE LOVE to run, can’t wait to start up again.

Took a turn as Musher for a short distance but I’d be fibbing if I told you I did any more than went for a ride.  The dogs knew to follow the groomed path ahead – I yelled HAW & GEE to keep us out of snow banks…that still counts, right? 🙂

Day ended with water, chow & hot dogs for the huskies – hot chocolate, hummus & crackers for us humans.

So was it worth the 7 hour drive?  YES, YES, YES.

 

WATCH my clip ‘Durango Dog Ranch’!

End of the year & unexpectedly found myself with a few extra days (my employer decided to close between Christmas & New Years).  What to do?  Kick around locally or road trip.  Yep, I vote ROAD TRIP.

Durango & the many peaks on Colorado’s Western Slope have thus far eluded me – hard to spur motivation for the 7 hour drive.  Having the extra days off however, no excuses.  Drove 5 hours with M before camping near Pagosa Springs.

Day One destination – Mesa Verde National Park.  Day Two – Dog Sledding…yep, dog sledding.  Awesome idea, huh?

Added Mesa Verde to my Colorado bucket list from a AAA Traveler flyer viewed almost 3 years.  Pueblo Indian ruins located in a Southwest backdrop?  No brainer – gotta go!

Started at the Visitor Center educating myself on everything Native American.  The Pueblo cliff dwelling people settled in Mesa Verde from 500 – 1200 AD (long ago for our continent).  Their kiva dwellings were constructed under surrounding cliffs which protected from the harsh winter elements – but also trapped smoke in the village (largest cause of death).

A kiva is a room used by modern Puebloans for religious rituals, many of them associated with the kachina belief system. Among the modern Hopi and most other Pueblo peoples, kivas are square-walled and underground, and are used for spiritual ceremonies.

M & I hiked down to Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde’s best-preserved & only cliff dwelling open during the winter. Unbelievable [that] these structures still exist & remain intact for visitors to explore.  Hard to imagine these ancient people constructed buildings & planted crops 7,000+ft UP.  SPECTACULAR!

Drove Mesa Top Loop Road, taking in other nearby cliff dwellings before enjoying late lunch/early dinner in Cortez.

Kick back, catch some zzz’s before tomorrow’s adventure?  Nope 🙂

Ended the day at Four Corners Monument, a marker designating the border of 4 US states – Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah.  Located in the middle of a Navaho reservation, kinda sad to see the poverty of our native people.  The hour drive from Cortez however was BEE-UT-IFUL.  Savored our last hour of sunlight in the neighboring New Mexico mountains.

LOVED this place, LOVED LOVED this day!

 

Road Trip: The Southwest’s Four Corners

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/four-corners-southwest-road-trip/

 

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