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This morning I drove back into Mesa Verde NP to finish sightseeing and take the ranger led guided tour of the largest cliff dwelling. Most of the Mesa was socked in with fog, but by the time I reached the ticket center, it had cleared nicely. I bought a ticket for the 12:00 o’clock tour and realized I had an hour and a half to kill before it started. I was driving from lookout to lookout, killing time, and then it dawned on me-I’m in a different State and different time zone. I just made it back before they decended the stairs. 

Tonight I’m at a BLM campground just outside of Arches NP. The campground in the National Park is full. I hope to get in there tomorrow. It has rained all afternoon and continues tonight. The first sun is not predicted until Sunday.

10.23.10

I spent the day hiking the trails in Arches NP, and I also got into the campground for a couple of nights. It will take all day tomorrow to see everything. There are still huge crowds in the NP on the weekends even this late in the year. Today was sunny and warm for a change and that must have been the reason so many people are here. 

I have taken a lot of pics but I have no easy way to put
 them up. Maybe I could email them to Daryl and he could insert a couple or put them in a gallery for me.  

 
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I only drove 150 miles today. Mesa Verde NP is getting ready to turn down for the winter -closed campground, closed visitors center, and only one guided tour. It takes several hours to drive the park and see all the ruins. I spent a long time at the museum and climbed down to one of the cliff dwellings. Tomorrow I will take the guided tour and then move on. Tonight I am at a Walmart in Cortiz CO. There are signs saying no overnight parking, but there are several campers and RVs here.

 
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Published on October 20, 2010, by admin in Adventure.

This morning turned out sunny with the promise of warm weather. I drove along the rim of Canyon de Chelly and stopped to admire the view from several overlooks. The view are totally awesome – sheer cliffs of hundreds of feet, colorful sandstone formations, meadows nestled in the valley below. 

The park is located on Navaho Indian land so they take advantage of every oppertunity to sell their wares to the tourists. Every place you stop the Indians have their tables set up to sell jewelry and other trinkets. There is only one trail leading to Pueblo Indian ruins that you can go to unguided, all the rest require that you hire a guide or join a tour.  You can probably guess which trail this high plains thrifter took. 

It was a fun walk down the cliff face to the valley where the ruins lay. Some of the trail was chisled from the rock face and in a couple spots tunneled several yards through. At the bottom, I had to pass more tables of jewelry and a fence kept onlookers back over 100 feet from the ruins.  

On the way back up it started to rain. I ducked under ledges when the showers became steady and hiked when they let up.  At the top, I could see lighting in the distance so I decided to call it a day, get something to eat, and head back to the campground. Tomorrow I will head to Mesa Verde NP. 

 
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Today I visited Petrified Forest NP. The visiters center has lots of information about prehistoric animals and vegitation and a walk through scattered remains of petrified trees. The rest of the park is mostly a long drive, spaced with turnouts to view the colors of the Painted Desert, which by the way encompases all the area from the Grand Canyon to Abq NM. 

I stopped at one site where ancestors of the Hopi Indians lived about 1250ad.  Foundations of buildings and artistry on the rocks made more sence to me than the colors of the desert. 

I’m staying a couple of days at a free campground in Canyon De Chelly Nat.Monument while I tour the area. I have given up on wifi and will just use my phone to post. Back east, every store, restaurant and motel has wifi, but out here it seems to be only truck stops and they want to charge you to connect. At least if I can get a cell signal, I can put something up. 

 
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I left Phoenix about 10 am and headed north on highway 87. In less than an hour, the road climbed higher into the foothills of the Arizona Central Mountains and I entered Tonto National Forest.  At the time, I found it difficult to warm to the idea that a National Forest included desert and brust, but as I came closer to Payson, I was at an altitude that produced thick and tall pine trees. 

I stopped in Payson for some supplies and then drove north to Tonto Natural Bridge SP. Over the centuries, the Pine river eroded the soft limestone underground and formed the world’s largest natural bridge.  Well… It all depends on how you define largest-there is another one somewhere that is higher but not as thick.  I took a few pictures but didn’t walk to the bottom of the gorge where the best views are-I am still babying my knee. 

I’m writing this in a camping place in the Coconino National Forest, about 50 miles south of Winslow. There are pull-outs with fire-rings all along the forest road, so I don’t think anyone will mind if I stay. The altitude must be around 7000 feet and it’s getting dark and cold. No signal so I will try for a wifi spot tomorrow. 

 

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