2016-06-03 Mesa Verde, Taos

We stayed over night at the Navajo Dam Campground (which is huge, and was near full, some 300 campsites, mostly fisherman)
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And Headed to Mesa Verde in the Morning.

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This is another one of those places that is hard to describe in words and pictures. It is an area of near desert the Pueblo Indians had settled in for some 600 years back at the time of Christ.

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Supposedly, they were successful farmers in this dry and arid climate.  As the water dried up, and other resources became thinner, they moved down the sides of the cliffs for shelter from the sun and winter.

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The access to these cliff dwellings was rather treacherous (and though improved, still seemed pretty dangerous to me by todays tourist standards)

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Both Jennifer and I were very nervous watching tourists (and ourselves) standing just inches from sheer cliffs while the guide gave her narration.

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But it is definitely another -not to miss- attraction. There is a great museum, with plenty of information and artifacts, and cheap tours of several of the dwellings (of which there is something like 600 in total).  There is also, a “drive along tour” on the topside where you drive to a dozen different closely dispersed destinations, and stop and view different archeological sites and ruins; the tour chronicles their 600 years of occupying the area and gives much insight on there different dwellings an lifestyles over the course of time. Amazing place. Amazing society. Lots of open mouths walking around in wonder..

Steering towards home, we stopped briefly in Taos to walk some of the art galleries and shops; though still very touristy, this town had a much better energy for me than Santa Fe. The oldest occupied American Indian Pueblo is also nearby, which we did not have time to check out.

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We also viewed some Green homes made of mostly recycled and repurposed materials. There was an entire subdivision of these “Earthships“.. All solar and self sufficient; Pretty cool in a past life, but currently I am happily into my “Roadship”.

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The area east of Taos was interesting and would warrant another camping visit.

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Heading East , the scenery once again became barren and boring..

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It’s always a thrill to come home to the green green grass of home.

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2016-06-02 Telluride Co.: Americas Most Beautiful Drive

Thursday Morning we made the loop from Ouray to the North, through Ridgeway, and around to Telluride.

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A stroll around town, and a bike ride up another great city walking/biking trail along the San Miguel River..13344642_1197545300270046_7176320411746781126_n

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This one had some history, with Kiosks along the highway. Those zig zags up the mountain is a switched back road to the mine (still covered with Snow in June). They are used as Jeep touring roads now, and no doubt lead to the trails which connect to Ouray… The two towns are less than 10 miles apart as the crow flies, but divided by 10000 ft plus peaks.IMG_5969

There is a (free) Gondola that takes you up and around in to Mountain Village (a mini-Aspen).IMG_5951We skipped the typical crowded commercial campgrounds in town, and found the Sunshine Campground State Park just South of town a couple miles. 
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The view from our “sliding doors” was awe inspiring. So much so, I whipped out a quick little painting.13325494_1197544506936792_7129407875650486571_n

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I’ll finish this up when I get home..

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Sunshine Mountain

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2016-06-01 Million Dollar Highway, Ouray, Perimeter trail

This trip just getting better. The Million Dollar Highway or San Juan Skyway takes you from Durango to Ouray with ridiculous switchbacks, drop offs and cliff side “hanging” roads..

IMG_5764Passing Silverton again..IMG_5797

While Jennifer was driving through the beautiful Mountains, we spotted this waterfall and pulled over to snap a picture.  Jennifer was just going to stay in the Van. I walked over and was trying to get a picture and then she meandered over.  We were parked on a downhill grade, and I asked her if she put the emergency brake on (Aly was still in the car). She got a very concerned look on her face… 🙂

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I just had to include this picture of her running back to the Travato before it started to roll down the highway… 😀

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We rolled into Ouray about evening and thought we’d check for the off chance there might be an open space at the amphitheater campground.. There were several; but only for “small vehicles”.

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Good thing we got our “little Travato”!

We tucked her in and got this view for the evening…  IMG_5864IMG_5876
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Woke up to a view of Ouray below us.

Had a Cinnamon Bear come visit us in the morning too, but didn’t manage to get a picture..

Jennifer made pancakes and sausage in the morning and we were off to explore Ouray..   on foot.IMG_5882

Somehow, we got off trail, which mama wasn’t real comfortable with 😉 , (that hill is a lot steeper than it looks in this picture).

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IMG_5880 IMG_5900 IMG_5896We walked to downtown, did some poking around, and then hiked the “perimeter trail”, which is a 5 or 6 mile trail that completely circles the entire town on the mountainside.IMG_5938IMG_5901 IMG_5902

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IMG_5926…and even got to do a little gold pannin’ to remind me of my prospectin’ days, before returning to camp 🙂
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13332930_1193545103991540_4664232408359238898_nAs if that wasn’t enough for one day, we jumped in the Van and headed to town, had some delicious HUGE burgers at Maggies Kitchen, and soaked our bones in the Hot Springs.

This was a good day!

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