So, we stopped at Four Corners. This is where 4 states meet - Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The land also happens to be on the Navajo (Native American) Reservation. Well all except the Colorado part - that's on the Ute Reservation. So at one time you can stand in 4 states and two Sovereign Nations, all at the same time. Pretty cool. I've been told this monument is in the middle of nowhere. This is no exaggeration. But it was pretty cool to stop and we had some yummy fry bread while we were there.
We headed to Mesa Verde, Colorado to see the cliff dwellings. These always looked miniature to me in photos - and even in my own photos, they look minature, but they are quite grand. The people who lived here were called Anastazi until recently. The word Anastazi means "Foreign Enemy" (or something similar) in Navajo language. I guess the people whose ancestors lived here didn't feel they were foreign or an enemy, so they are now referred to as Ancestral Puebloans. The inhabited this area for less than 100 years and no one is quite sure why they left. The most plausible reason I heard while we were there is that they left because the gods told them it was time to leave. Interestingly, they abandoned this site about the same time the Mayans abandoned their grand cities in Central America.
Yes - we climbed that ladder. 32 feet, practically straight up. The dwellings are built into nooks in the sides of the cliffs. We had ladders and at times toe holds and rope chains to help us up and down. The people who lived here used the crevices in the rocks and wore hand and toe holds to help them climb up and down the cliff face. They farmed in the fertile soil of the top of the mesa. It is really quite amazing.
We hiked a lovely 1.5 miles (at this point the kids were pretty much done with hiking) to a really awesome wall of petroglyphs (which the kids were also pretty much done with, but hey, mom's got to be humored sometimes!) This is only a small portion of the wall. It was really awesome.
And of course, what is the dessert without cactus? Many were in bloom and their bright papery petals were just gorgeous. The flora and fauna of the southwestern US dessert is a whole post unto itself.
Thanks for stopping by!!