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Revisiting El Morro National Monument

Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Friday, May 27, 2022

After leaving the Zuni Pueblo we travelled just a little further east until we reached Inscription Rock at El Morro National Monument. Although we had stopped here just over two years ago, part of the trail was closed for the winter that day and many of the inscriptions were in poor light, so I wanted to return to finish hiking the complete loop and to hopefully get some better photos of the inscriptions along the way. Plus, we also needed to pick up a caving permit for El Malpais National Monument on Saturday, and we would be able to get one of those at the El Morro Visitor Center while we were there, saving us from a trip into Grants the following morning.

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Village of the Great Kivas at the Zuni Pueblo

Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Friday, May 27, 2022

After leaving Lyman Lake State Park we drove through St. Johns as we headed further north and east until we entered New Mexico and the Zuni Pueblo. We stopped at the Zuni Visitor Center and arranged a guided tour to the Village of the Great Kivas, which is considered a Chacoan Outlier that features two Great Kivas and two separate room blocks that housed around 100 inhabitants. This site is also known for its impressive array of petroglyphs and pictographs and is one of the main archeological sites illustrating the development of Zuni culture. Once our guide arrived we hopped into the large white van and he drove us over to the site for our private tour.

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The Mogollon Rim to Lyman Lake State Park

Along the Upper Little Colorado River | Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Thursday – Friday, May 26-27, 2022

After spending two days in Petrified Forest National Park and then a brief stay in Pinetop, it was time to continue on our loop and start making our way back east and north with an overnight stay at Lyman Lake State Park. We were up and on our way early on Thursday morning as we went on a pleasant drive along the edge of the Mogollon Rim and through the White Mountains to the headwaters of the Little Colorado River. We took a break from driving to search some volcanic cliffs along the Little Colorado River for petroglyphs, and managed to find a couple.

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Petroglyphs of the Painted Desert

Petrified Forest National Park | Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Tuesday – Wednesday, May 24-25, 2022

After our half-day Jeep tour in Canyon del Muerto on Monday, it was time to spend a pair of days hiking in the backcountry of Petrified Forest National Park, which has quickly become one of our favorite places to explore over the past couple of years. Since the park does not open until 8:00am, we were able to sleep in a little later this morning before leaving Holbrook and driving over to the entrance. Once we arrived, the first thing we did was stop in at the temporary Painted Desert Visitor Center and grabbed a backpacking wilderness permit, since it’s a great place to spend the night. Then we headed off in search of petroglyphs for the rest of the morning and early afternoon, and we found a lot!

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Rock Art of Canyon del Muerto & Chinle Wash

A Return to Canyon de Chelly National Monument: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Monday, May 23, 2022

After spending most of Sunday in Mesa Verde National Park it was time to spend some quality time looking at rock art and ruins in Canyon de Chelly National Monument. About six years ago Diane and I had stopped to check out all of the overlooks along the rim of the canyons in the Monument and also hiked down to the White House Ruins, so this time we wanted to get into the canyons for a closer look. That meant we would have to book a tour with a Navajo guide. About a week before the trip I set up a five hour tour with Beauty Way Jeep Tours for 8:00am that would mostly focus on Canyon del Muerto and we were looking forward to finally getting into the canyon!

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