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Tag: ruins

The Chaco Phenomenon of the San Juan Basin

Tour of the Ancients: Chimney Rock National Monument, Twin Angels Pueblo & Lowry Pueblo
Thursday & Friday, May 20-21, 2021

After leaving El Malpais National Monument in the early afternoon on Thursday, we then drove north across the San Juan Basin on our way to Durango. There was a storm system moving into the area this evening and it was supposed to rain overnight and throughout the day on Friday, so we thought it would be best to get a hotel room in town tonight. On our way we made a short detour to visit the Twin Angels Pueblo, which is a Chacoan Great House located at the edge of Kutz Canyon, not far from Angel Peak. We were planning to visit Chimney Rock National Monument on Friday and had already visited the Dittert Site in the El Malpais National Conservation Area earlier in the week, so I thought it would be nice to visit yet another Chaco Outlier this week.

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Rivers of Ancient Fires: The Malpais

Tuesday – Thursday, May 18-20, 2021

After spending two nice days in Arizona exploring Petrified Forest National Park, it was time to move on to New Mexico so we could spend a couple of days along the Continental Divide at the southeast margin of the Colorado Plateau in El Malpais National Monument and the El Malpais National Conservation Area. Last winter we spent a short day in this area but were unable to do much because the roads were snow-covered and muddy from a recent winter storm, so we had vowed to come back as soon as we could in warmer weather. We had hoped to do a little caving on our next visit, but because the caves are all currently closed due to COVID-19, we had to stay above ground this trip. Of course, there were plenty of other hiking opportunities to keep us busy and that just means we now have another excuse to come back when the caves are open again!

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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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Below Cathedral Butte: Upper Salt Creek Canyon

Wednesday – Sunday, April 21-25, 2021

Last spring I was looking forward to spending a few days hiking into upper Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park with Diane so I could show her around one of my very favorite places on the Colorado Plateau for the first time. I was also hoping to squeeze in some deeper explorations into the area while we were there. Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck and would have other plans for us when Canyonlands cancelled our permit for the last weekend in April. I then managed to quickly snag another permit for later in May, but that permit was subsequently cancelled, too. I guess we would be waiting until the spring of 2021 to try again…

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Rambling Around Robbers Roost II

Friday – Sunday, April 16-18, 2021

What a crazy two weeks it’s been! At the end of last week I got sick and missed two days of work and then for the first time this year I did not get outdoors on a weekend! Then earlier this week I noticed the ball joints on the front drivers-side axle of my Jeep were dangerously loose, so I had to replace those one evening after work this week before I felt safe driving it on the highway again. Plus, I’m currently changing jobs at work, so I’ve been dealing with the details of that as well, which has kept me pretty busy. Just over a month ago my plans for hiking in the Robbers Roost area were spoiled by the weather, so this weekend I decided it was time to return and try again. I left after work on Friday and made my way over to The Roost. My original goal for Saturday was to hike into Bluejohn Canyon, but when I arrived at the trailhead shortly before sunset I found a bunch of very large groups camped there. After my loop through Grand Gulch two weeks ago I really needed to find solitude away from people this weekend, so I left and continued driving on to Hans Flats so I could explore Spur Fork on Saturday instead.

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