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Published: April 20th 2016
Day 3 & 4
Yesterday was a fairly brief day. I drove past Shiprock, uh, rock on US64. At the town of Shiprock city I turned north onto US 491for the first time. It was brief. At the city of Cortez I took a brief stop and visited Walmart to purchase a few vital pieces of equipment. The big one being a nice comfy pillow. Mission accomplished.
I did notice next door an Indian natural remedy establishment so I said "what the heck" and entered. The staff was very helpful (and very happy) and showed me all types of herbal teas. The teas had odd names such as cookie dough, rainbow blast, etc. I was tempted to get some cookie dough tea as I really wanted to see how it tasted but alas I don't have much of a sweet tooth.
After that brief stop I went straight on US 160 to Mesa Verde National Park and found the only open primitive campsite. This time I was smart and setup around 4PM in broad daylight. 😊 This time things went much smoother and got things setup in an orderly and shipshape manner, except... useless item #2: my canopy.
I couldn't t get the damn thing setup. Apparently in the past I must have used two people as it most DEFINITELY needs 2 (or more) people to setup. So besides the cot I am now lugging around 2 large useless items.
I had menudo (thanks dad!) around the camp fire and then tried to setup my telescope. I was too late. It had gotten below freezing and trying to setup the equipment and get it aligned proved too much. I really needed to setup when it was warmer and where warm hands could do the delicate work (you try doing delicate alignment and setup with gloves). So in shame, I just sat by the fire, enjoyed my scotch (thanks dad!) and thought about that cookie dough tea.
At this point I found out that the bathroom nearby was closed for the season, and in fact, all bathrooms were closed (as well as showers) except the one near the entrance to the camp ground. I, of course, had selected a site just about as far away as you can get. Sigh.
This evening went much better. I setup the pad and sleeping bags diagonally (the Pythagorean theory
and all that) across the tent. I slept much better but it got cold, really cold. In fact, it got so cold that I will for now on bring a wide mouth plastic bottle to bed. The ultimate in recycling. 😊
This morning after grits and pears, I went to see the sites. I saw some the night before, but this time I toured the museum and then went to the individual cliff dwellings. It was impressive and it's amazing how well they have stood the test of time.
The sad thing is that the Spruce Tree House dwellings (the best preserved cliff dwelling in the park) hike trail was closed. The problem is that the overhang is in danger of fracturing and crushing the dwelling. A crack had developed in the outcropping years ago and the expansion and contraction of the crack from the cycle of seasons has created a time bomb. According to the ranger, it is not if, but when the outcropping will fracture and collapse. He said that it doesn't have much time left and they probably can't get the engineering plan drawn up and approved in time, much less allocate the budget it
would take to rescue the dwelling. They are trying to navigate the process but he didn't seem too hopeful.
I have left Mesa Verde and heading north from Cortez on 145 towards Telluride, probably on to Montrose. Not sure where I will stop.
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