2015 Summer Journal

Technical Difficulties + Weekend Recap

If you’ve tried to access the blog over the last few days, you were probably met with some sort of error message. We thought we had fixed it last week, but apparently it came back with a vengeance on Friday, and we didn’t notice it. We’re sorry! There’s something wrong internally and Will is working hard to get to the bottom of it.

Last week was a work week – short, due to our trip to California, we were busy busy busy every day. Will was able to get a couple mountain bike rides in, but I pretty much holed up in the Durango Library every day.

View from my spot at the Durango Library... Can't complain!

View from my spot at the Durango Library… Can’t complain!

We left Durango on Saturday morning, headed for a mountain bike ride at a place called Phil’s World. It’s a network of trails that totals about 25 miles of riding if you do the whole thing. I’ve been feeling a little sketchy on the bike since my last fall, and riding until my legs are dead don’t help my confidence (Looking at you, Monarch Crest and 401 in Crested Butte.) I bailed out around mile 10, but still got to experience the famous “Rib Cage.” Will kept on for another 8 or so, a good ride for each of us.

On Sunday we visited our first National Park of the trip, Mesa Verde. We usually avoid National Parks because they aren’t dog friendly and attract huge crowds, but we really wanted to see and learn about the famous cliff dwellings in the canyons. We signed up for the earliest tour (9am, $4 each) and were a little disappointed that it was full of blustery retirees (each trying to best the others with their extensive National Park travels) and families with young children (not problematic until they let the kids run amok through the ruins, completely disregarding the ranger’s polite “please don’t do x…” messages.) The elementary school goodie two shoes inside me was dying, as I carefully tiptoed around ruins and kept my hands in my pockets to avoid touching anything old. Come on, people!

Waiting for the tour.

Waiting for the tour.

Heading down the steps.

Heading down the steps.

Climbing the ladder to get to the Balcony House.

Climbing the ladder to get to the Balcony House.

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The tour guide chose Will and I to be the last people in the group, to make sure everyone made it through the obstacles ok. We were disappointed at first, but then realized that we'd get the best photos.

The tour guide chose Will and I to be the last people in the group, to make sure everyone made it through the obstacles ok. We were disappointed at first, but then realized that we’d get the best photos.

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Overall, the tour was interesting and informative. I’ve been reading House of Rain: Tracking a Vanishing Civilization Across the American Southwest by Craig Childs (highly recommended!) and it was very cool to see examples of all the ruins and artifacts he discusses in the book. Will and I were really hoping to get off the beaten path to explore some less-trafficked ruins, but the Ranger politely informed us that that was against the rules at Mesa Verde. However, there are tons of ruins across the Southwest, if you know where to look. We’re excited to do some exploring next summer!

We stopped and had some delicious sandwiches at Spruce Tree Espresso House in Cortez before heading north to Moab. We got some groceries, dropped our bikes off to be serviced, and headed out to camp on Cane Creek Road. Before settling in for the night we snuck in a quick run with Hilde, up a trail called “The Stairmaster.” It paralleled a popular rock crawler 4×4 route, and at every turn we marveled how the jeeps were able to make it up the big sandstone steps. We aren’t much for paid tours, but I think it would be neat to experience this kind of driving! At the top we took in the view of the beautiful Colorado River snaking through the canyons below.

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The canyon walls above our campground.

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Moab is the last official stop on this summer’s journey. Will has his race, the AXS Finale (Mountain Biking, Kayaking, and Orienteering/Running; 100 miles total) on Saturday, so we’ll be taking it easy activity-wise this week. After the race, we aren’t sure what the plans are. Depending on the weather and our moods, we might hang out in Utah, or we might high-tail it back to Montana where we’ll be spending the winter. It’s amazing to think we’ve come this far!

 

 

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  • Dale Borgeson

    As always, your photos are just incredible.

  • Beautiful photos! I’ve only passed through the southwest, would love to go explore it more.

    • Thanks Andrea! It’s hard to take bad photos out here – the landscape is so gorgeous. We love the Southwest too! I think next spring our travels will be focused on the desert.

  • Loved Mesa Verde- it was our 2nd park! Crazy how the people congregate in just a few areas, and there are other areas with zero people around! If you ever go back through in the summer, Wetherill Mesa was amazing and practically empty. Have fun in Moab! We just left there three days ago!