0524 2nd Mesa, Hopi Reservation, AZ

0524 2nd Mesa, Hopi Reservation, AZ





In the morning we arise and walk. There’s a group of 3 wild dogs running around the campground. One older slow one. One middle aged friendly one. One young, very playful one. The young one and Sherman play a bit. If we were in a place Sherman could run, they’d have a great time.
Back to the van. Eat. Head to Visitor’s Center. I go in for a map and suggestions. I ask the man at the counter where anthropologists think the original people here migrated from? We’re they from the Mesa Verda diaspora? He just said he has no idea, and laughed. OK. Me neither!
There’s one hiking trail into the canyon. But Sherman’s not allowed. So, no hike today. I choose the South Rim because it has more overlooks.
My first look into the canyon. The trees in the distance are a mystery.
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0523 Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ

0523 Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ

We wake with first light, get up and walk to the end of the mesa we’re camped on. Standing there surrounded on 300 degrees by river gorge walls leading down to the San Juan River. It’s an amazing feeling, standing on a little rock point with half mile deep and three-quarter mile wide gorge filling all of peripheral vision. Sherman too is standing still, looking around at the view. We soak in it… We walk along the edge back to the van. The river gorge goes down in steps. The river is about 2000 feet below us. But the dropoff from the cliff we’re walking on is only 20-30 feet to the next layer.
On to Monument Valley. I’ve wanted to go here for decades. Today’s the day…!
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0522 Goosenecks State Park, UT

0522 Goosenecks State Park, UT

We get up and walk the 2 miles into Painted Hand Pueblo.

This is a site with many petrographs. While walking down the road I notice that Sherman is a little on edge. As we’re walking I notice that the bushes growing along the road are mostly blocking his view of anything in the distance, so his other senses are on high alert. I wonder what it looks like from his view, so I hold by phone down at arms length. This is not as close to the ground as his eyes, but about a foot higher at my knee level. So… here’s an approximation of Sherman’s walk on this road.
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0520 Delores, CO

0520 Delores, CO

We get up, eat, walk, and go to the store/gas area to take a shower. First shower in a week. Though sponge baths work just fine for quite long stretches of time, standing in a hot shower is one of the miracles and pleasures of life!
 i take a shower and find this sign posted on the shower door. Careful, weird people are about…
We then head toward The Long House Tour. It’s a 60 minute drive from the campground. This is on a completely different Mesa. So, a new community of dwellings. The drive is a slow, winding mountain road. Much of it along the knife crest of the ridges. The road plus an 8-12 foot shoulder is it! Steeply down on both sides. As we approach the end of the road we see a herd of wild horses. They are not afraid of the cars, but are cautious. I can see about 8 horses. Sherman’s lying down and doesn’t move as I try to act excited. A half mile past the horses is the parking area for The Long House and Step House.
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0519 Mesa Verde, CO

0519 Mesa Verde, CO

It’s a cold night. The thermometer says 34 degrees in the van. That means it’s mid-20’s outside. There’s a breeze, so I start the van and turn on the heater. When the inside temp hits 50 I get dressed and we hop out — leaving the van running — to walk around the campground loop.
The inside van temp is 62 when we get back. We have breakfast and about 8:30 I head to the Visitor’s Center for tour tickets. The only one still available today is for Balcony House. I get one for 11. Long House is available tomorrow. I take 10 for that one. Unfortunately, Cliff Palace, the most photographed Pueblo structure in the US is closed for repairs until the 26th. So it goes…
Balcony House is an hour drive from here, so we have another hour to stop along the way at other sites.
We stop at Park Point. The highest spot in the park. It’s at 8572 feet.
Looking back toward the entrance.
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