As for last week, we really enjoyed our stay at the National Forest campground in Colorado. We would visit this overlook many times during the week, as it was just a 2-minute walk from our camp spot:
On Monday, Amy and the girls took a field trip to the Anasazi Heritage Center, which is a museum that illustrates the native cultures of the Four Corners region. Amy said it was one of the best little museums she and the girls have been to, and it’s all stuff relevant to a book they are reading for school right now.
Midweek, we took a side trip to Lowry Pueblos near Cortez, Colorado. These were built around 1060 AD, so pretty old:
It was a typical school and work week otherwise:
Another trip to the overlook to watch the sun set (that’s Mesa Verde off in the distance):
Friday morning, Amy, Em, and Nat attended an event held by Cortez’s Annual Birding Festival. (Not interested in birds, Carrie stayed back at the RV to work on a separate school project.)
They of course did some bird watching:
…and then made bird feeders:
Saturday morning we broke camp and headed to Mesa Verde National Park:
Wild horses, just running across the road:
We had an excellent ranger-led tour of the ruins of Mesa Verde. Our guide was an exceptional storyteller who wove archeology and anthropology into our thought-provoking tour:
This site was called “Balcony House.” It was a smaller site, but also a smaller group which was nice:
These ruins date from about 700 years ago:
We saw the main site, “Cliff Palace,” from a distance during a short walk after our tour. Interesting side note: Mesa Verde is the only National Park that exists to preserve the works of humans.
There was a wild fire 10 years ago that took out a big chunk of the trees and vegetation. They say it will take a couple hundred years for everything to grow back.
It was pretty cloudy when we were there, but on a clear day you can see mountains 90 miles away. This point is above 8500 feet:
One of the more exotic sights of the Southwest: rain!
The Scion continues to be quite a trooper, despite the dented face full of mud and bugs:
On Mother’s Day, everyone got up early to make a killer breakfast while Amy was out running:
We had camped in the Rio Grande gorge the night before and got an interesting view after driving out of it. It looks like a big crack in the earth:
We stopped at the Taos Pueblo on Sunday afternoon:
This pueblo has been continuously inhabited by the native Red Willow people for over 1000 years.
We bought some bread from one of the local shops:
At another local shop with Esther, the owner. She, like most of the others here, has lived in this pueblo her entire life without any electricity or running water.
I was surprised to learn that the walls of these buildings are literally just mud and straw (I figured there was some sort of a curing process to make it weather resistant.) Esther explained that the reason these buildings are still standing is because they’ve been maintained by their inhabitants for 1000 years. Every September, they just pack on whatever mud the 50 days of rain per year have washed away. Amazing.
I was intrigued by their cemetery full of crosses. Esther explained that their beliefs are sort of a mash-up of their original native beliefs and the Catholicism that was “forced upon” them by the first Spanish explorers 500 years ago.
After leaving the pueblo, we stopped at Taos Cow for some all-natural ice cream:
This was just a cool overlook off of a bridge that crossed the Rio Grande. It’s a beautiful gorge and river, the only down side being you get that Duran Duran song stuck in your head.
And then we came to the Earthships of Taos, NM. This gets added to my list of favorite places.
These so-called earthships are homes made out of natural and recycled materials.
Solar and wind power, solar heating, and rain-water collection systems are just a few of the things that allow these homes to operate sustainably completely off-grid. It’s basically the RV lifestyle, but applied to a home. It was unanimous: we want one, and are going to explore this option for our next house.
Tires, cans and bottles are used as filler material when creating the cement walls:
Just think: turning this…
This was just a cool old truck that was sitting on the premises:
We made our way to Santa Fe for the week. We intended to stay up in the mountains at a remote state park, but the internet was non-existant. So, we’re staying at a mostly vacant rodeo fairgrounds on the outskirts of town:
Not as scenic as the mountains, but I have GREAT internet. And with horses and cows right outside our RV, the girls are getting plenty of fresh air.