Saturday, December 3, 2011

Southeastern Utah and a little bit of Colorado

When we were in Texas visiting with Steve and Vicki, Steve swore there was this great place in Utah that looked like... and he held up his hand straight in the air. So we swore to look for it when we went to Utah. Believe it or not we found it.

You'll notice the perfect hand shape in the left photo. We found it in Monument Valley, where I am told, John Wayne filmed a lot of his movies.. Then wouldn't you know it! We found another hand out in valley. This hand looks just like the one in background.
More of Monument Valley

The rocks were huge and came up all around us as we drove. The snow finally stopped after we left Flagstaff, AZ. We apparently were driving through the heart of the storm and it was actually quite nice and calm. Then we got into Colorado and it began to snow again. We thought we might camp but with temperatures well below freezing and winds up to 56 mph we thought we better find a hotel.

The Navajo deftly placed an assortment of trailers and broken down cars on the other side. 

We stopped at the four corners. It was deserted... Which was nice for us. We got right in and took a bunch of pictures. We danced in and out of the four states. The clouds were creeping up on us though so we headed back out on the road.

We found a great little hotel next to Mesa Verde. We stayed warm for the night and got up early to go see Mesa Verde.

Unfortunately Mesa Verde closed down the park to all vehicles other than all terrain.

As close as we got to Mesa Verde
The mountains were beautiful covered in snow. The ranger at Mesa Verde sent us to another area with a museum and more information on where we could go to see prehistoric Native American ruins.

These pics are all of the Lowry Pueblo which is a part of the Canyon of the Ancients. It was like an entire apartment complex built out of sandstone, but with tiny doors and no roof. I wouldn't live here.

Next we headed to Hovenweep National Monument. It is a beautiful canyon and all around the edges are remains of Pueblo towers. Even though it was freezing and snowing, we made the walk around. Archaeologists think that the Pueblos built around the canyon to protect something, most likely the water source. They think they left because of a drought in the late 1200's.
Though this is usually a busy tourist spot, we were the only ones there. It was so peaceful.

After Hovenweep we drove towards the Valley of the Gods. It was breathtaking!! The mountains were huge and so many different colors, mostly red. The way the weather over time has eroded them is incredible.

We drove past the "Mexican Hat" and "Navajo Blanket." These mountains looked like a colorful poncho.

It seemed like every road we turned on, there were cows or deer in our way. They didn't seem to care that we had a lot of places to see in one day.
The mountain in the background has a switchback road up the side of it! Yeah it was scary to drive up. It's not paved, no side rails, sharp corners. We just held our breath and enjoyed the incredible view as we made our way up it. 

Never thought we'd see a shark in the desert

You shall not pass!!
 Yes cows in the road again.... They were cute, but they walked right in front of our car for about half a mile. The older one kept looking back at us and staring while the others walked farther ahead.

After a long day of driving and visiting as many National Monuments as we could, we decided we had just enough daylight for one more adventure. We picked the Natural Bridges.

To the right is the first natural bridge, Sipapu Bridge. We just went to the overlooks because we were marathon driving through the park. But I bet it would be a lot of fun to hike down to each bridge. Another time...
Here is the next one, Kachina Bridge. So big! Natural bridges differ from arches in that natural bridges are formed from water flowing around them and arches are formed through erosion from weather, such as rain and wind.

The park ranger told us it would take at least an hour to get through the park... we did it in 35 minutes.

This is the sun setting in the Natural Bridges park. It was overcast and freezing but again so peaceful and lovely.
Here is the third one, Owachomo Bridge. After the bridges we headed north to Moab and the Arches National Park. By the time we reached Moab it was well bellow freezing and still continuing to snow. Although it was a jam packed day of site seeing, it was a lot of fun and we did see a lot of really cool stuff. There is so much to see in this area of Utah, we cant wait to come back and explore more of the things we just got a glance of.

1 comment:

  1. Love the "hand" photo. You did good. Looks like you are doing a National Park marathon in a few days. I know you will be glad to be home even though you are having fun making memories. - Vicki