Published: April 7th 2011April 7th 2011
OK Steph had her go so now it's my turn. We headed away from Monument Valley and headed north towards Natural Bridges NP. On the way stopped when I saw a very familiar view in the rear view mirror. Those Eagles aficionados will recognize one of the photos and if you aren't interested in The Eagles then hopefully you watched Forrest Gump when he stopped his cross America run. Familiar? Anyway on we go. We climbed out of the area up a windy steep gravel road which would make the Skippers Canyon look like a walk in the park. It went straight up the side of a Mesa switching back on itself constantly. We stopped half way up at the only pull off area and I informed a very scared French tourist who had stopped to wipe something? that most of the roads in NZ are like this. Arrived at the Natural Bridges NP and headed down a Canyon to view a bridge of solid rock across a small stream. It was 60 metres wide and about the same height but the best fun was the walk out of the canyon which was only a climb straight up of 300 metres
but at this altitude felt like we were climbing Everest. The park has three big bridges which were carved out of the valley by a river a couple of million years ago (give or take a million years). We drove on to an area of ruins called Hovenweep. These ruins were the dwellings for the ancient Pueblans from about AD1 until sometime in the 1200s. Now here is the first thing that puzzled me. Every where we have found ancient civilizations they all appear to have disappeared at the same time around the1200s. The Inca's from Machu Pichu, the Pueblans and many others all around 1200. Either there was one heck of a party going on somewhere else that they all got invited to or maybe the visitors from Roswell, New Mexico took em somewhere? Who knows? Anyway stepping out of my personal twilight zone. We headed off to Mesa Verde NP and spent the night at a campground just outside the main gates which enabled us to get in to the NP once they opened at 6am..Yeah right I value my marriage too much to get Steph up that early..I mean I am already of a first warning for
the one pot meal I don't want to push it! We went into Mesa Verde NP which is a huge area of ancient ruins which were inhabited until..yes you guessed it..1200. Spooky you may think must have been one heck of a party. Anyway we spent most of the day visiting the ancient ruins. They were to say the least absolutely amazing in both their size and their location dug into cliff faces. OSH would have had a field day here. There were two really big ruins one called Spruce House and the other the Cliff Palace. The architecture in these places was fantastic and from what we could read of the people at the museum they were exceptionally advanced. The last set of ruins we visited in the site was called balcony house. This was much the same as the rest except by this stage some bright spark had decided that a balcony was called for to stop things falling off the porch into the valley below. We spent most of the day here and late in the afternoon headed off the a town called Durango. Those of you who watch too many westerns will recognize the name. The
town have preserved the old precinct as it was with the buildings facades intact and have done a great job as it really has a flavor of the old west about it. Tomorrow we plan to head north on a circuit through a lot of old silver mining towns north of Durango. These places apparently had the distinction of regular visits from old time bandits like Butch Cassidy and others so hopefully things have quietened down a bit by the time we get there. Hope my ramblings haunt driven you to drink Steph will be back next entry.
There are more photos below