The Colorado Plateau Griswolds
Day One: Loveland to Durango – or so we had hoped.
|Broze, Mesa Verde N.P.
|Bronze, Research Center
As day turned into night, it became apparent that we would not make Durango. So we settled for Pagosa Springs. This seems like a quaint town and one I would like to further explore, but I am a sucker for hot springs. Perhaps a summer excursion to include The Sand Dunes, Lake City and Crested Butte, but that’s another trip, another blog.
Our approach into Pagosa Springs was, as I heard from my husband, a little treacherous with recently fallen snow, slow drivers and ice. Let me explain further, my husband is a very excellent driver and for him to say a little treacherous means it was part power-slide /part prayer. Not to mention we dubbed our 2WD vehicle the Mobile Capsule of Kid Farts. Thankfully, I was blissfully asleep as we travelled over Wolf Creek Pass, unaware of all the excitement and/or fragrance as the case may be.
“Not for two days and we're going to see lots of cool stuff in-between.” I informed him.
“Okay, when are we going to eat?”
The drive to Durango brought the first signs of sandstone outcrops. Chimney Rock could have been named something else, but we’ll keep it clean. 9am brought us to the Verizon store for a phone charger, which begs the question where did those 5 hours go?
Day Two: Mesa Verde and the Griswold's.
|Spruce Tree House
Scientist’s no longer use the term Anasazi to describe the earliest settled population in this area, which is a derogatory Navajo term for “the enemy of the people,” These ancients are now referred to as the Ancestral Peubloans. These people lived in the Desert Southwest from around 500AD until 1300AD. They were first known as Basketmakers. As skills and tools advanced, these people became pottery makers and sandstone masons. Life changed from pithouses to brick/mud structures over pithouses and for their last 200+ years these pithouses became condominiums in cliff-alcoves. No one knows the reason why; however, around 1300AD these people left the area and moved further south, but, what was left behind was archaeological mysteries for Grad students and photo-ops for foreign-language tourists. (Yes, even in December very little English was heard.)
|Inside Brick Room
We continued down the road to Cortez for a late lunch. We hoped to find something other than Mexican or Chinese. Thankfully, we found the Main Street Brewery. The food was standard brewery fare and tasty. However, you need an Olla-full of patience as far as service goes on the Colorado Plateau. All our meals have been slow to hit the table and our voyage to the Four Corners Monument was delayed.
We made the 4-Cs buy 4:55pm and the Gate Keeper gave us 5 minutes to explore. We took a Griswold glance and snapped a few photos. I am pleased to report no Christie Brinkley in a convertible was sighted upon our departure.
The best part of traveling in December is the cost. So far we have not been charged very much. Granted we renew our Annual National ParkMembership every year, so park entry is essentially free, but so were the guided tours inside the park and the Four Corners was not only free but we also avoided the “vendors.” However, never fear, our children will see how the Native Americans really survive today. And it’s not pretty.