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Tag: four corners

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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Thanksgiving Weekend on Cedar Mesa

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 28 – December 1, 2019

This year for Thanksgiving Diane and I planned to spend the long holiday weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa like we usually do at this time of the year. However, this year we had to deal with a winter storm that impacted the area and required us to change our plans on the fly. Although I wasn’t able to hike in the canyons I had originally planned for this trip, we managed to avoid most of the weather and find things to do throughout the weekend. Here are some photos from the weekend in no particular order…

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Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower

Overlooking the Four Corners | Sunday – Monday, July 21-22, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking to the summit of Centennial Peak and Sunday morning attempting to hike to the top of Hesperus Mountain it was time for me to head back into Mancos so I could pick up the keys to the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower where I would be spending the night. I first laid eyes on the Jersey Jim back in 2010 when I was exploring a few roads near the La Plata Mountains on my way home from a week of adventure through the mountains of Colorado. At the time I knew it was available to rent for a night or two during the summer and I thought to myself that I should plan to do that sometime. It was almost nine years later and ‘sometime’ still had not come because I kept putting off making reservations for the tower each summer until it was too late. But since I have been trying to get to some places this year that I have been putting off for far too long, spending a night at the Jersey Jim was near the top of my list and I was thankfully able to secure a reservation earlier this year, even though it was a frustrating process on the phone filled with busy signals!

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La Plata Mountains: Centennial Peak

Plus A Failed Attempt at Hesperus Mountain
Friday – Sunday, July 19-21, 2019

I have been looking forward to this weekend since early March when I was able to secure an overnight reservation for the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower on Sunday night, and since I was going to be in the area I decided to spend the weekend peak-bagging in the La Plata Mountains. As usual, I left right after work on Friday and headed south into the San Juan Mountains with a quick stop in Delta for dinner. I drove over Red Mountain Pass to Durango and then headed west to Mancos where I took the West Mancos Road into the San Juan National Forest and found a spot to spend the night in Spruce Mill Park just after dark. It had been a long day and I was planning to get an early start the next morning, so I went right to bed.

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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!

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