Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moab to Zion

I know I posted on Friday about our Moab experience but this has been a short week while waiting for Erin & Brad to arrive. Funny thing we touched base in four states; Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona and then back to Utah.

Our first stop was Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. This World Heritage Site administers the preservation of archeological sites and the relics of the Puebloen people. As the season is slowly coming to a close there was only one of the three Ranger guided tours available for us. Cliff Palace, one of the three cliff dwellings of the Puebloen people, was described in detail by the Ranger and helped us get a good understanding of the area and their lifestyle. We climbed down through the crevices in the canyon to arrive at Cliff Palace the largest of the cliff dwellings. These people inhabited the Mesa area for over 700 years and late in the 1200's moved on. We viewed original masonry as well as a Kiva (ceremonial room). These rooms were used to pray for rain, luck in hunting or a good crop as well as meeting places to simply weave and communicate. There was a scenic drive that allowed us to see many of these cliff dwellings on both sides of the canyon.

As well as Cliff Palace, we viewed Spruce Tree House. This was a little easier to access but gave a good example of the recessed village under the canyon overhang.

The drive through the desert can be boring at times but I was excited that we were nearing Four Corners; Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Well don't blink or you will miss it! The best thing I managed was a picture of the sign entering New Mexico. Don was honked at by a Navajo lady driving her pickup truck so we didn't take any time to look for evidence of the landmark where these four states touch each other.

After our day of exploring we travelled on to a place called Bluff where we boondocked. We camped at our first BLM (Bureau Land Management). They are primitive sites that offer no utilities but a box to deposit your $10. Again, the season is coming to a close so there were only 4 occupants in a 25 site park. So quiet we could hear ourselves breathing.

No distractions and good reading time!

Early rise and we find ourselves travelling again. This time it's Monument Valley. This area is owned by the Navajo Nation. As we approached and Merrick Butte became visible Don stated that he was sure he had seen this site before. "It's a picture!" I picked up our trusty guide book and sure enough the cover of our Frommer's was the actual picture we were looking at with our eyes. Time for a photo moment! The Valley drive is a 17 mile (28 km) unpaved dirt road where RVs over 25+ feet are not recommended. So, we viewed the Valley from the Visitor Centre and got our feel for the area by reading pamphlets.

It was a long drive to Page, Arizona but the entrance to Glen Canyon was well worth it. We stopped for supplies and did something we do not do often.....take a tour! This time it was Glen Canyon Dam. The Dam was constructed between 1956 and 1966. Much of the Colorado River's original canyon (Glen Canyon) disappeared from view and Lake Powell was formed. Today Lake Powell is home for hundreds of houseboats and motorized watercrafts. We were lucky to be visiting off season.

The drive was easy going and we decided to have a beach day. From approximately 6 km. away Don spotted some RVs parked on Lone Beach.

Our beach afternoon turned into another boondocking night. This place was truly off the "grid". We met several Canadians making their way down to their winter destinations and taking a few weeks to enjoy the peace and quiet of this location. We have met so many people that have opted to change their lifestyle and we find it very surprising the little cost that it takes to make these changes. It would have been easy to stay on Lone Beach and enjoy many "Happy Hours" with our new found friends but we had to make a move closer to Zion where we would meet up with Erin and Brad.

Still time to take an easy hike up Toadstool Trail before our destination of Glendale in Utah. Again we found a quiet little park with all utilities and close proximity to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. Lots of exploring to follow in the next few days. The only thing we have to watch are the temperatures which dip close to freezing at night but daytime is great at 15 or 16.

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