Sunday, November 6, 2016

Summer 2016 Road Trip Stage 3


One of the places I really, really wanted to visit on our road trip was the Pueblo cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde.  Leslie and Scott let me add it to our itinerary, totally expecting me to have checked into it before hand.  I had no idea how unprepared I was for this stop. It was one of those times in life when you learn that lack of research and preparation can lead to disappointment. I naively thought we could drive into the park, grab a map at the visitor center, and drive right up to the dwellings. Nope; not at all! It is one of those parks that has strictly protected access; which in hind sight, makes sense. How else can the site be protected from the masses of people that visit there? We arrived at the visitor's center a little before noon and discovered only one tour was left for the day, at 2:00, and it only had a few seats. What?? A bus tour, only one left for the day?? See what I mean by my lack of research?? So, we decided we would find something else to do. We drove through Canyon lands and probably ended up having a much more enjoyable time. We were able to drive through in our own vehicles, stop at NUMEROUS easy access scenic overlooks, and let the grands climb to their heart's content.
I think Ryan is the only member of the family to ever visit Utah. He went while in college as part of a geology field trip. We were all delighted to find that the landscape is indescribably breathtaking! I realized I should have visited much sooner. As you look at the pictures, please realize that this is one Mimi who only has a point and shoot digital Cannon so the pictures do NOT do the beauty of this place justice. 

Thank goodness Scott thought to bring his little tripod along. 
Our first sight of a rock formation. We were split on whether it looked like Buda or a fat poodle
I think this was the time I started wishing Ryan was there. It's nice to have a geologist in the family, but he doesn't always seem to be around when you need him.
This was the first arch we saw. 
We took a quick hike up to get a closer look. Amazing!
Seth and Mimi
This is one picture that helps put the size of the canyon in perspective.
This is the other one. I don't know if you can see it or not, but on the right side, there is a tiny vehicle driving along the trail into the canyon. Not for the faint of heart!
Another tripod shot. Some turn out better than others. 
Maggie was fascinated with the cairns. She would add a to the existing ones and built a few of her own.

I loved how well the grands got along. Seth was such a good big cousin.
The way the sun and clouds cast shadows on the canyon was gorgeous.

I love wildflowers. It was amazing to see them growing in the most unexpected places.

Wishing for a really nifty camera and the skills to use it.

Maggie building another cairn.

Before long, Sophie was building her own plies of rock at each stop.
Sophie, Maggie, Seth, Leslie, and Scott

This is the first place on our road trip where Scott and I started talking about buying an RV. We had plenty of snacks with us to keep from getting really hungry; but, if we'd had the ability to stop and actually make lunch, have a bathroom on hand, and possibly spend more time in this park it would have been an even more enjoyable visit.  There were several places that Scott and Leslie would have taken off and hiked on their own. But, the grands and I weren't up to it. If we had been in an RV, the grands and I would have spent some time playing board games while Leslie and Scott took a longer and more strenuous hike. And so the seed was planted.

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