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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