Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mini-moon: March Madness

Our March mini-moon consisted of heading north - to Cortez, Colorado. Cortez is located in the corner of southwest Colorado, in the "Four Corners" area. What drew us to Cortez in mid-March? Dan was invited to judge the cattle show and youth livestock judging contest at the 'Four States Ag Expo.' Dan invited me to come along, since it was the end of Arizona's spring break.

I spent the beginning of spring break in Iowa (which was wonderful; busy; and too short). Dan had been with his judging team in Houston for a week. He got back to Tucson on Tuesday night; I came back on Wednesday night; we left for Cortez on Thursday afternoon.

Our route there took us through Flagstaff and then through northeastern Arizona....the Grand Canyon to our left and through the Navajo reservation. My first introduction to Arizona came in 1982, when my aunt Barbara moved to Arizona to serve as a nurse in the Navajo reservation. When my brother was born in 1983, she came to stay with us and brought with her a 'Tuba City' shirt for me. It was royal blue, with golden yellow ribbing around the neck and short sleeves. It had a rainbow-line across the chest and the words 'Tuba City.' I LOVED that shirt!, the place of 'Tuba City' has always held a fascination for me (no matter how many people here tell me it's not anywhere near impressive).
Unfortunately, our drive through this new area of Arizona was in the dark. (and our drive home was through a different route - more on that later)

When we arrived in Cortez, I had no idea what there was to do. I don't tend to do a lot of research before going places. So, over my breakfast, I perused the brochures in the lobby. I was delighted to find out that Cortez was once home to the Ancient Puebloan people and not more than ten miles from our hotel were some of their pueblos in Mesa Verde. In 5th grade, I did a report, which included making a diarama, on the Pueblo Indians. Since then, I have had a fascination and respect for them - and have always wanted to visit the ancient pueblos. Needless to say, I was BEYOND excited!

On Saturday, we went to Mesa Verde National Park. In early spring, there is only one area of the ancient pueblos that are open to the public (where you can actually walk onto the area/around the pueblos). It was a beautiful drive. Upon our arrival at this area, I got out the camera and started taking pictures. We hadn't even made it to the up-close-and-personal area of the pueblo and the camera battery died. ...and our phones were in the car. Whomp-whomp.

After leaving Mesa Verde, we headed to Guy Drew Winery. The wine was excellent! AND reasonably priced. The tasting room was just the kitchen of Guy Drew and his wife - creating a very relaxed and comfortable tasting. (Their house was beautiful - and very southwest.) We had a great time talking with "Mrs. Drew" (we never got her name; maybe it was Nancy...). She even had an Iowa connection - and went to college at Cornell! (If you are ever in the 4 corners area - we highly recommend that you stop in for a tasting. You won't regret it!)

Can you see the 'Mesa'?

Showing off my short hair...
While it looks cold, it was a nice 60+ degrees at the time.

Cliff Palace!!!!

Can you tell why it's called Mesa Verde? (Green Table)
During much of the time that the Ancient Puebloans lived here, they lived on the top of the mesa. During their last 100 years there, they started building the pueblo houses/villages in the cliffs.
Look like just a cliff to you? If you had an amazing magnifying scope, you could see that there are actually 2-3 cliff dwellings present.
SO COOL, people!!

After making the loop, we headed up to the highest part of Mesa Verde. Can you see the weather start to change? Not quite so sunny anymore....

Lots of snow! That was fun to see again....

The distant mountain 'range' is called 'The Sleeping Ute.' The highest peak you can see is his elbow, then his torso, things, knees, and you can barely see his 'toes' peaking' up at the far left. It really did look like a sleeping Ute. It's believed that one of the warrior gods was injured and fell here; someday, the Utes hope that he will rise again to defend and protect his people.

Dan does his thing at the cattle show on Sunday. It was FREEZING! (literally) Preciptation started falling as rain, then sleet, then snow...which was cool at first since I hadn't yet seen snow fall this year. Until we heard that northern Arizona had a major snowstorm dumping 14-22" of snow....

1 comment:

Farmgirl Chaos said...

How cool to see the pueblos! I'm thinkin that could be a cool place to visit for a work summer trip. But then I remember of how hot and dry it be.

If you have a chance, take another picture of your hair...with no coat on. What I see looks cute. Just can't tell how short it is. :)