On our way to Mesa Verde, we went through Four Corners - the only place in the United States were the boundaries of four states meet: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. The area is owned mainly by the Navajo
Nation, followed by Ute, Hopi, and Zuni. Yes, we were in an Indian reservation. Actually, in this area, we crisscrossed several reservations.
We got to Mesa Verde National Park in early afternoon and got to see some cool cliff dwellings. This "city" was built around 500 a.d. literally into the cliff face. There were no stairs or easy trails to get to the "houses". They even built several kivas into the flatter areas of these cliff side niches.
Of course, we didn't have to scale the wall the way the native Indians did. We just walked down the paved trail. But it is extremely impressive to think of how these people managed to literally cling to life in this harsh area.
After leaving Mesa Verde, we made our way to Moab, UT. This proved to be a nerve-racking experience. It was early evening when we headed off and we kept seeing dry lightning in the distance. We were hoping very hard that our route would not take us anywhere near it. No such luck. The lightning was literally blinding and, just when we got far enough to turn back, the rain started. And the wind.
Why is it we start out our day in a hot, dry, hotter, drier desert and end up in the middle of monsoon season 20 miles later? This is the third time we've had these freak storms chase us. Could it be a sign? Something along the lines of... hm..... maybe..... leave earlier in the day? Arrange for a hotel earlier? Drive away from stormy signs? Nah.
As soon as we got to Moab, we grabbed the last 2 rooms at Motel 6 and got a decent night's sleep. We met some bikers that morning that had the coolest trailer on their bike. A doggy trailer! The couple was from California and we had a nice chat before heading our separate ways.
Bright and noonish the next morning, we made our way to Arches National Park. I don't know about everyone else but I expected to take a relatively short trail and take some shots of stone arches. It did not work out that way. Which led to our fifth "oops!" (is it fifth? sixth? I lost count). More on that later.
|The Balanced Rock (not for long!)|
There were also some prehistoric pit houses (built partially into the ground) and petroglyphs, which we did not go find, since we were saving our water - and strength - for the Delicate Arch.
The first trail we walked took us to a far view of the world-famous Delicate Arch. Then we attempted the hike to the Delicate Arch itself. Some of us made it.... like Azoica, the last one to reach it. YoManBob and Dennis also made it to the Arch but I don't have pictures. Why? Because I was handling the fifth "oops!"
Peekaloo became dehydrated due to a combination of poor planning, heat, and terrain. She's fine and we learned a valuable lesson but one that we would have been better off avoiding. Indi-Mac stayed with her while I tried to reach Dennis and YoManBob. Azoica had gone ahead for them but she seemed to be taking too long and I got worried.
Of all the variables, the biggest problem was poor planning. We normally gather information on where we are hiking (elevation, temp, fauna, etc) and prepare accordingly. This time, we relied on word-of-mouth instead of doing our research and, well, half of us missed out.
We almost had a sixth "oops!", too, when Dennis tried to take a picture of YoManBob with Yo's cellphone... with both thumbs bandaged... and dropped it... on a very slanted 15-20 foot deep side of the Delicate Arch. Yeah, that hole on the bottom right of the picture. Fortunately, there was a small ledge the phone managed to land on and they were able to retrieve it. And take more pictures with it.