Four Corners Area

Tue, 22 Apr 2003 02:59:29 -0000 (GMT)

Four Corners Area

From Page, AZ we went to Monument Valley which is right along the UT, AZ border but most of it is in AZ. You can see some of it from the road but the best is in the park ran by the Navajo. It costs $5.00 each so reasonable enough. You can drive through the 17 mile loop but a lot of people hire a Navajo to take them through on open seats on a flat bed of a truck with railing. It is very dusty; especially if the wind is blowing. They do go a bit closer to some of the monuments then you can drive with your car. The road is quite rough and rocky but given what we have driven on in the past it was not a problem at all. We recognized some of the monuments that have been in the media at one time or another. The Navajo have booths at a lot of the stops selling their products.

The area is pretty typical of SD Indians with lots of wrecked or non-used vehicles, tough looking housing, drinking problems but nice schools. The tour vehicles were not in very good shape. The visitors center waRs very nice and well kept up. Monument Valley is not real large, maybe 5 miles by 5 miles roughly; although they are huge so one might be fooled.

Next was Northeast AZ where it we drove through lots of sandstorms. That is one area if I were born there I could not wait to get old enough to move out. It would be like the dirty 30's everyday. As we moved into the 4 corners area we gained some elevation and started to see mountains with snow on them. The higher elevation brings more moisture and there is a little bit of plant life and the sand quite blowing. Four corners is a Navajo Monument and they have at least 50 stands where they are selling things. We did buy a couple of items we had not seen before. One was horsehair pottery which is pottery that has horse hair that melted into the pottery in designs. It was applied will the pottery was still very hot. We also got a sand painting. They grind up 4 rocks of red, blue, green and blue so they have the primary colors and then apply this sand to make a painting. The sand is held on with a water, glue mixture. The one I got was on sandstone, most are on fiber board.

>From there we went to Mesa Verde, Co to the Ancient Pueblo ruins. The best were Spruce House which is an easy hike and is open the year around. We got tickets for a ranger guided tour of Cliff Place which is the largest cliff dwelling in North America and can be seen be ranger tour only. We seen a number of sites on top of the mesa and other smaller cliff dwellings. The tour to Balcony House is not open until the end of the month but did hike a trail where on can view it from about 1/4 mile away. These were used around 1100-1200 AD but the ones on the Mesa and some early alcove one (on cliffs but not under an overhang date back to around 500 AD. First were pit houses with tops like early sod houses and then the had sandstone masonary houses on the Mesa that were above ground and then the last few centuries on the cliffs. They were farmers raising corn, squash and beans. It gets to around zero in the winter so they used southerly exposures and recessed areas with a roof and had a good ventilation system to get the smoke out. They were able to heat it to around 55-60 degrees F. They had as high as 4 stories of buildings and Cliff Place probably had 400-500 people living in it. They had long ropes made of Yucca and used that for lowering and raising things over the cliff. They had stone toe and hand holds to climb in and out the would of been easily protected but that does not seem to be the reason but rather close access to water seeps and southerly exposure and the protection of the overhang seemed to be the reason for the cliff dwelling.

We hit snow going across the rockies in southern CO, Wolf Pass on HWY160 was dry but La Veta Pass east of Alamosa it was snowing hard and temperature was 32.7 degrees so was just wet other than a little slush for about a mile. On east of Interstate we eventually drove out of it. Stayed at Lake Meridith east of Pueblo. Tonight at North Platte and will be home tomorrow via Hwy 83 and Murdo.

Amateur Radio E-mail is hands down the best way to get ahold of us out west as the cellular coverage is just to spotty with the thin population and hill terrain. We were able to check E-mail morning and night everyday and sometimes more than that. We also have it set up now that when we have a digital cellular connection we can connect to the Internet and surf the net all be it at a very slow speed, about 12-14K but does give us another option. Again out west not that often that we had a connection, but surprisingly when we did it was usually digital.

I hoped you enjoyed the travelogues and starting in late July there will be more as we head for the Northwest and possibly going ocean fishing in BC.

Ed and Edith