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Ute Mountain Tribal Park: The Other Mesa Verde

Friday & Saturday, May 14-15, 2021

After being constantly busy with school since January, Diane finally had a week off between semesters for a Spring Break and she was looking forward to getting away, so I planned a trip that would take us mostly to northern Arizona and New Mexico for the upcoming week. On our way down through the Four Corners area we would be spending our first day checking out the ruins and rock art at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park. The Tribal Park is found along the Mancos River and shares a boundary with Mesa Verde National Park. Thankfully that’s all it shares, since it doesn’t have the crowds, reconstructed ruins or the sterilized feeling of the popular National Park. A Ute guide is required to visit this park, so a few weeks before the trip I arranged for a private guide and a night in the campground along the Mancos River. Like many of the other trips I have done this spring, this was another one we had originally planned for last year, but which also got cancelled because of COVID-19.

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Mesa Verde National Park

Saturday & Sunday, October 18-19, 2014

While Diane usually likes me to plan our weekend adventures, I made her decide where we would be going this weekend since Monday was her birthday. She ended up choosing Mesa Verde National Park because it’s a place she has wanted to visit since she moved here. Her choice worked out well for me because it’s also a place I really haven’t spent much time at before but have wanted to. I have typically avoided Mesa Verde in the past because of the large crowds this popular National Park attracts in the summer, but thought that this might be a good time of the year to try and finally go there. It also worked out perfectly that Saturday was the last day of the season for the guided Balcony House tour, so we would be able to visit that ruin on the last day of the season and not miss out.

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