July 20, 2011 Bluff, UT to Durango, CO

Today we leave Utah behind and head for Colorado after a stop at Hovenweep National Monument. On the way, we encounter our third animal in the road, a horse. I can see how it is a really bad idea to travel after dark around here.

Why did the horse cross the road?

During the ride today, John explains many things to me and points out stuff I should notice. I learn about how to make glass panes, all about geology (he has bought two new geology books while we have been traveling) and he points out the mountain which is called Sleeping Ute. We saw this 20 years ago when we were on our Southwest trip with the kids and John is like the proverbial elephant. I try not to retain too much because it would ruin the fun of John explaining everything again and again. But I digress.
Sleeping Ute Mountain

We arrive at Hovenweep National Monument mid-morning which is a good thing because it is getting hot. It’s not as hot here as in the rest of the country but still, hiking when it’s over 80 is exhausting. We see a short movie about the monument and go out on the trail. The rating for the two miles is “easy.”
Little Ruin Canyon

The ruins are from around 1200 A.D. John and I have a long discussion as we look at the ruins about comparative cultures. Native Americans never got past the stone age. Why is that? Was life so difficult that there wasn’t time or energy to do anything other than exist? Was there not a critical mass of people so that some could specialize? Why is there no wheel? Or domesticated animals? Have North American animals not been domesticated because it wasn’t possible for the people to feed them and themselves too? Are North American animals just too cranky for domestication? But camels have been domesticated and they are pretty cranky. The discussion keeps our minds off the fact that the trail is not so “easy” and we are getting hot and tired.
Mary and ancient Puebloan building

We decide not to have a picnic after we are done with our hike. The idea of sitting out in the heat with insects flying about has lost its appeal. We drive into the town of Dolores, Colorado and have lunch at their old train depot. Ah, air conditioning! Just outside of town there is the Anasazi Heritage Center. We go there after lunch and learn a lot about the people who lived in the ruins we visited this morning. But it still doesn’t answer all our questions.
John at the Anasazi Heritage Center

They have an exhibit of native American pictographs and petroglyphs. We learn that some of them are as old as 8000 years. The figures are haunting looking. We find one which is the symbol that our St. George community uses.
Entrada symbol

After we are done at the museum, we drive to Durango, do a little grocery shopping and prepare dinner in the room. I don’t want to go out because SYTYCD is on. So we eat pasta, drink wine, watch TV and fall asleep.

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