Computer’s back into action. Post-able stuff’s been piling up. Two + weeks ago I spent 5 glorious days in UT, arriving via a new route through western NM, through the four corners area. Spent a couple days camping and climbing with firends in a familliar area (but never tiresome.) Headed to CO via Mesa Verde and Durango. Pointed south into NM, again through new territory.
Folks, I’m in love with northern NM. Head over heels in love with No. NM. It’s beauty is stunning in places. I can’t get enough. Here’s the tour, chronoligically.
5/5: Destination UT via western NM, past Shiprock, NM (pic of the famous rock didn’t turn out.) Driving past the reservation made me more aware of the poverty rampant in SW N. American reservations. Shacks for houses. Past four corners (CO, NM, UT, AZ). Drove through a little artists town called Bluff. Found an excellent coffee shop/gallery/studio. Look who was parked in front! (The reptile-mobile)
Passed the former Mormon settlement of Verdure, a pretty little gem it must have been, situated on a jewel green (floodplain) of a creek with a million dollar view into the mtns. A couple old houses exist as well as newer ones tucked in off the road. Aparently the settlers set up shop here until Monticello, further north, was built.
Destination: Indian Creek, a favorite climbing area about 1.5 hrs south of Moab, UT, at the southeast end of the south section of Canyonlands Nat’l Park. IC is famous for beautiful, splitter cracks in sandstone. The rock there is red, formed in buttes or towers, the views go on forever. It’s truly a special place. I met up with a gang of friends, mostly from the Golden, CO and Montrose, CO area who go by “Army of Darkness” or “Team Duct Tape.” Long stories on the names, just know there couldn’t be a more fun group of friends out there. Two days of climbing and I was a sore, tired but happy girl.
Look what I found. A herd of wild horses! No wait…they have shoes on and they beg. Local ranch uses open grazing. Curious critters. They must get many apples out of travelers’ coolers. The little Shetland Pony tagging along was a hoot. One was checking out my trunk.
L to rt: Dave almost in the heinous, wide part of the crack, Karin and Lars from Norway. The Mostly-Orange-Mafia (Susan missed the memo) of (L to R) Kim, Heide, Me, Melissa and Susan. What a riot! Andy, Lee and Mike with big grins. Here’s what was behind them:
A more tame than usual campfire ensued that night involving the ever popular butt-darts game (All about the cheek control, I don’t mean the smiling kind) which morphed into more challenging “butt-cam” games. Tom played the guitar, a blessing, such a treat. Lee and Charlie even offered up a little jig.
Found these purdy red paintbrush flowers on the road side on the way out along with a convoy of people with fancy cameras and vests with lots of pockets. They were on a field photography class. Overheard while one man was photographing a flower, “That damn wind keeps moving my flower!”
I shook my head in disbelief at that one. Prickly Pear’s had red blooms on them but missed the photo op.
Next headed east to Mesa Verde Nat’l Park to see the ruins. Was my first time there and a reminder of what big, popular Nat’l Parks are like. How do they manage the sheer numbers? It was a quiet day for the park but there were still 50 people in my tour group, people from all over the world. The tour guide was an old high school science teacher, obviously loved his job, funnny, informative. I learned the women there averaged 15-18 years lifespan and 1/5 children lived past age five. Crops were grown on top of the canyons making the landscape look very different from now. Not as many trees. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence of agression or warfare leading to the vacating of the area. They think it’s weather related.
Ponied up for a hotel/shower/brewpub fare that night in Durango and paid visit to the local quilt and yarn shop. Found some treasures. Then to Pagosa Springs for a soak in the hot springs. Mmmm…..Very recommended. Managed to read a couole knitting mags without melting them. Headed south to home via roads not seen yet. Took Hwy 84 towards Chama, NM, to the little town of Los Ojos. There I stopped at the only open business (open doo, I should say) on the block long main street and asked about road conditions on a little, barely marked road on the atlas. Passable. Turns out the man who’s studio I stepped into makes the funky recycled tire planters and door mats I saw at a gallery in Madras, NM. (See Post) Interesting fella. Across the street was Tierra Wools http://www.handweavers.com/ a weaving/fiberarts center (unfortunately closed by that time of the day). A new outing brewed.
A dark, humid sky with big rain clouds forming convinced me to abort camping plans for the night and head the few hours left to home. Took a little dirt road, 112 south west to Cuba, where I became the recipient of my first speeding ticket in FOUR years.