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Tag: anasazi

The Painted Desert: Land of Light and Shadow

Homolovi State Park & Petrified Forest National Park
Saturday – Monday, January 13-15, 2024

For about a year now, Diane and I have been making pretty solid plans to spend most of the upcoming week in Grand Canyon National Park. Since we would be passing right through the Painted Desert on our way there, we were also looking forward to spending a couple of days in the Petrified Forest along the way. We certainly could never have predicted that after our first visit to Petrified Forest National Park in 2020 we would fall in love with exploring this amazing place and have now returned each year for the past five years. With so many places still left to explore in the park, we are hoping to keep the trend going well into the future!

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Below the Bears Ears: Thanksgiving Weekend 2023

Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 10 | Thursday – Sunday, November 23-26, 2023

This year for the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend I returned Below the Bears Ears to the canyons of Cedar Mesa like I typically do at this time of the year, so I could explore some new places and maybe revisit some old ones along the way. When I left home early on Thursday morning the weather forecast was not looking that great for Friday into Saturday with our first real winter storm on the way, but I wasn’t too concerned about it since I had plenty of backup hikes in mind that I could go on regardless of what the weather had in store. That turned out to be a good thing since the higher elevations of Cedar Mesas did end up getting some snow and I had to alter my original plans a bit so I could hike into canyons at lower elevations. While Diane would usually join me on this annual trip, this year she was scheduled to work part of the weekend and was unfortunately unable to come with, so I would be flying solo this time.

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Hovenweep’s Centennial and the Great Sage Plain

Hovenweep National Monument & Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Saturday – Monday, October 21-23, 2023

It feels like it’s been quite a while since the last time I visited and spent some quality time in Hovenweep National Monument and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and I’ve been really meaning to get back down to that area for the past couple of years, but it just hadn’t seemed to happen yet as I keep putting it off for other trips. However, this year I made it a priority to get back with Diane so we could celebrate Hovenweep’s Centennial year since it was proclaimed a unit of the National Park System on March 2, 1923 by President Warren G. Harding. I also figured that this would be a great opportunity for Diane to visit the units of the park she had not been to before and I would be able to hike the few remaining trails in Hovenweep that I had not been on before and could finally cross this park off my ‘completed trails’ list. So early on Saturday morning Diane and I loaded up the Jeep and headed south along the Colorado – Utah state line to spend an extended three-day weekend exploring Hovenweep and other canyons of the Great Sage Plain!

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Beyond the Clay Hills: The Annular Solar Eclipse

Watching the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse from Nokai Dome
Friday – Sunday, October 13-15, 2023

After spending an amazing Thursday on Chapin Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park and then briefly stopping to visit Yucca House National Monument early on Friday morning, it was time to drive across the Great Sage Plain into Utah and then head even further west until we crossed Beyond the Clay Hills where we found a great camping spot atop Nokai Dome, which would be a perfect place to sit and watch the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse on Saturday morning. I had specifically chosen this remote corner of the Red Rock Plateau to view the Annular Solar Eclipse because it’s kind of out-of-the way and I hoped that we would be able to find plenty of solitude. It’s also a part of the Colorado Plateau that I really haven’t spent much time at and I’m hoping to change that and get a little more familiar with this corner of San Juan County. I really don’t think I could have picked a much better spot to watch the eclipse from since we were very close to the centerline of its path and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anyone else around for miles. I should also mention that the views in all directions from Nokai Dome were pretty spectacular!

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Chapin Mesa at Mesa Verde National Park

Thursday & Friday, October 12-13, 2023

For the past year or so, Diane and I have been planning to spend an extended three-day weekend in southern Utah so we could watch the Annular Solar Eclipse that would be occurring on Saturday morning. A month or so back we found out that she would also have Thursday off from work, so I went ahead and grabbed two permits for the Square Tower House Tour at Mesa Verde National Park because it’s the only tour offered in the park this year that we had not been on before. Since we had such a great time exploring Wetherill Mesa last summer I thought it would be a great idea copy that trip and spend the entire day visiting sites and overlooks on Chapin Mesa this time, especially the ones I hadn’t been to before or just don’t remember all too well. In the end we would spend sunup to sunset on Chapin Mesa and have a pretty great day, even if it was a bit windy and chilly out!

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