There are two drives to both the South and North Rims, where you can view ruins. We took those and also attended several ranger lead programs to learn more about the area, people, plants, etc. It remains a very beautiful and spiritual place. The photo below is of Spider Rock, where one legend has it that Spider Woman was born and taught the Navajos to weave. Of course there's also a geocache there. Another sure thing was enjoying Navajo tacos while there.
The night we arrived I posted our location there on Facebook and soon we got an email from fellow Roosters (friends who also have a lot at our RV park in AZ), Nora and Dennis Doty, who were in Durango, about 50 miles west. We communicated and guess who pulled in the next morning? We also connected in Mesa Verde and it was fun having them as neighbors to for us both to share our adventures with each evening.
About 15 years ago we took a quick day trip to Mesa Verde and always wanted to return. This time we thoroughly explored the park and took Ranger led tours through Cliff Palace (pictured below), and Long House (climbing up the ladders to get in the upper ruins), the two largest cliff dwellings. It was fun climbing the ladders to explore and be able to walk through the ruins. We also saw many other cliff dwellings on our drives and on the tram ride on Wetherill Mesa.
We took one day to visit old friends, Matt and Lori Volk now living outside Durango. I even managed to visit a couple quilt shops. Of course we also went geocaching along the way and found one of the best we'd seen so far. It was called, "Have you seen the Muffler Man?" Obviously done by someone with a lot of time on his hands, it was at least an acre of land around a small pond with all sorts of human and animal figures all made of mufflers and painted white. There were many funny sayings and signs as well as a small herd of goats following us around. I've put a couple pictures of them in here, but can't possibly convey all the ingenuity and humor they held.
We made a day tour to Apache Ruins National Monument in Apache, NM. This was one of the largest sites found, with over 400 rooms (pictured below). We passed Shiprock, a famous landmark for the pioneers and found several geocaches along the way. There were about six in a stretch dedicated to all the local firefighters and EMTs. Of course those had special meaning to us.
The last exciting day trip we made was driving the famed San Juan Skyway, rightly called the, "most beautiful drive in America." It was 236 miles in length, starting in Cortez, and going through Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway, Telluride, Rico and back to Cortez. There is one section called the Million Dollar Highway. We heard many stories about how it got its name, from the cost to build, the amount of ore left in the road fill, or the saying of many when they finished the drive, "I wouldn't do that again for a million dollars." There are grades up to 8% with 155 curves along this stretch and very few guard rails, mostly because there isn't room for them. However, contrary to what we'd heard, there is a white line on the the side all the way. We also saw many 14,000 foot peaks and were high enough (11,000+ feet), to see snow patches on the ground. Driving into Telluride, we could see Bridal Veil Falls, the highest falls (365 feet) in CO.
Once again the 90 degree temps caught up with us and we knew of one cool place we could go to enjoy days in the 70's and nights in the 40's - EVANSTON, WY!!! We left a day early (Gary even gave up his golf game there, however I'm sure he'll make it up) and arrived here on June 26th. We'll spend the next couple months visiting with kids, grandkids, old friends, and maybe even a few great-grandkids. Make sure and let us know if you're in the neighborhood of southwest Wyoming or Salt Lake City, UT (only 75 miles away). No, we don't miss the campground hosting and yes, we're having fun!
Dancing through a Wyoming summer...................
Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty, and Spicy!