We get up and take a quick walk around our part of the campground looking for sites whose reservation list doesn’t include tonite.
I find the trail leading to Overlook Trail which goes along the canyon rim near the campground.
After breakfast — Sherman eats breakfast for the first time in three days — we head for Overlook Trail. I love being at higher elevations.
When we finish the hike — 3 miles — I go to the Visitor’s Center to get a list of open sites. There are six. We go back to look and pick one. Go back to pay. While leaving I turn around and ask about the signs for backcountry trail passes. I was not going to ask as I thought the whole idea was silly. She says they are so the ranger who closes the gates to the canyon at sunset can drive around and look for remaining vehicles or bicycles. There is a copy of the pass on the dash or attached to the bike. They then know someone is still out there. Know who it is. Know when they started. Basic info before they begin a search. Ok. I change my opinion. Good idea. I get a pass…
We go to the trailhead for the Pueblo Alto loop. It goes up a trail in the Cliff and on to New Alto and Pueblo Alto.
These are on one of the displays by the ruin at the bottom of the trail.
Do we have the energy for another three miles? Not now. I drive to the parking for South Mesa loop. We share a can of Salmon and take a 30 minute nap. We’re ready!
Then winds up the steep canyon walls to the mesa. Looking back at the Grand Kiva with a ruin against the far canyon wall.
This is amazing. It’s a large structure in the middle of sandy high desert. There are NO rocks around. Yet a large complex rock building was constructed here approximately 800 years ago. Including 20 foot wide roads connecting it to other sites.
The only people who would build this thing today would be undocumented workers…We don’t have the multi-generational beliefs and visions to sustain this kind of effort. We have embraced Stoicism and Skepticism. We are determined that nothing have this kind of hold on us.
We are tired. We had our first 12 mile day since Vermont. I’m guessing we’ll sleep past first light tomorrow.