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Thanksgiving Under the Bears Ears

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 22-25, 2018

This year Diane and I kept our annual tradition of spending the long Thanksgiving weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa alive. (Not counting that one year we went to New Mexico instead, of course.) Although the mountains of Colorado got a lot of much-needed snow over the holiday weekend, the precipitation mostly missed the Four Corners region and we had very pleasant hiking weather just about every day. The higher elevations of Cedar Mesa and Elk Ridge did receive a little snow on Thursday evening, but it had pretty much all melted off by Friday afternoon. As usual, we found some new sites and revisited some of our favorites, too. It wasn’t planned, but we ended up visiting three different kivas that were all pretty well-preserved and had a great weekend exploring one of my favorite areas in the southwest! Check out all the photos from our Thanksgiving adventure below!

A beautiful evening spent on the edge of Cedar Mesa overlooking the Valley of the Gods.

Valley of the Gods View

Over eight years ago I tried to hike to the Lewis Lodge Ruins but was turned around by a narrow ledge that I couldn’t climb down. We decided to try again this weekend and I had absolutely no problems getting down to the ruins this time! It was a very cool site and I’m glad I was finally able to get there!

Lewis Lodge Ruins

The light was very nice when we visited Lewis Lodge, so I had a good time photographing the ruins.

Lewis Lodge Room

The Fertility Panel

Fertility Panel

Two ruins with broken doors.

Broken Door Ruins

Here’s an interesting petroglyph we found.

Hands Above The Head

Two small granaries under nice tafoni in the sandstone.

Caprock Rooms

A pretty great view over Cedar Mesa to Elk Ridge from the top of Comb Ridge. I hadn’t driven to this overlook along Posey’s Trail since 2009!

Upper Comb Wash

Part of a large petroglyph panel found along an obvious access route into a canyon.

Ramp Panel

This is another part of the same large panel.

Hand Panel

A fast-moving cold front moved over the Abajo Mountains as we drove back down from Elk Ridge. This storm would dump a lot of snow in the mountains of Colorado, but thankfully missed us.

Cold Front

Diane spotted these impressions of corncobs in the mortar of a ruin. Very cool!

Corncob Designs

Dotted Heads

Dotted Heads

Two rooms at the very end of the long ledge that make up the Lewis Lodge Ruins.

Rooms At The End

It seems that Diane has been on a roll lately and found another point during one of our hikes.

Little Point

Watching the sunset on Cedar Mesa as we hiked back to our vehicle.

Cedar Mesa Sunset

We spent our Thanksgiving Day at Perfect Kiva in Slickhorn Canyon.

Perfect Kiva

Here’s a photo of the replica ladder found in Perfect Kiva. We saw the original ladder at the Edge of the Cedars Museum last year on our Thanksgiving adventure.

Perfect Kiva Replica Ladder

Triangle Man hates Particle Man…

Triangle Man

Round Ruin

Round Ruin

A pair of nice spiral petroglyphs on a boulder.

Spiral Rock

Spirit Cave under a cloudy sky. The wind was strong and cold when I took this photo!

Spirit Cave

One of the better preserved ruins found in Spirit Cave.

Spirit Cave Room

Here’s one more ruin found under the large pourover in Spirit Cave.

Spirit Cave Ruin

Red Pictograph Alcove

Pictograph Alcove

More pictographs on the right side of the alcove.

Red Pictographs

A little square room on a ledge.

Square Room

Thanksgiving Dinner. It sure looks like the figure on the left is holding a dead bird upside down, which I thought was fitting for Thanksgiving. Do you see it?

Thanksgiving Dinner

Collapsed Wall Ruin

Collapsed Wall Ruin

I think the most interesting part of this petroglyph panel is the figure that has three legs, but that spiral design below the sheep is cool, too!

Three Legs

Just a couple more ruins found at the Lewis Lodge.

Double Ruins

Front Step Ruin

This was a very interesting site we visited. I’m calling it Utah’s Stonehenge!

Utah's Stonehenge

Big Sandals Panel

Big Sandals Panel

The remains of a two-story tower.

Tower Remains

I tried to climb up to this granary for a better photo but could not get up onto the final ledge, so I had to settle with this shot from below.

Upper Granary

There were a ton of petroglyphs on this wall! They were all very interesting, but hard to see and photograph.

Wall of Petroglyphs

This is another well-preserved kiva we visited over the weekend.

Edge Kiva

This one still has the original ladder in place. This photo was taken by sticking my camera through a hole in the side of the kiva, we did not enter it or stand on the fragile roof.

Original Kiva Ladder

Unusual petroglyph designs on a boulder.

Boulder Petroglyphs

The Island Granary

Island Granary

A few very large potsherds, both corrugated and painted.


Rectangle Ruin

Rectangle Ruin

A view from the rim of Slickhorn Canyon as we hiked back from Perfect Kiva.

Slickhorn Canyon

The inside of the third kiva we visited this weekend.

Kiva Interior

Ruins on a ledge above a tributary of Arch Canyon.

Ruins On A Ledge

>> Thanksgiving Under The Bears Ears Photo Gallery

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