May 12, 2011
Today was a busy day! We headed off down the road a way to Mesa Verde, or as I've been calling it (to mess with Mr. Lee) Salsa Verde. It was an amazing drive onto these big, green mountains, and we could see some snow capped mountains in the distance! Mesa Verde is a national park where you can go and see the abandoned cliff dwellings of the Anasazi, or as the PC Police are calling them, Ancestral Puebloans. Pffft.
And this is where I go off on a tangent:
OK, see, the Navajo basically named this tribe because the name Anasazi means "Ancient Enemies" in their language. Now, either these "Ancestral Puebloans" didn't have a language (either written or spoken) in which they were named, or the fact that they sort of disappeared in the 13th century means that the name was lost to history - I dunno. What I do know is, with due respect to the latter day cliff dwellers, is that it's silly to try and change the name that history knows you as, simply because it names you as someone's enemy. They obviously didn't get along with the Navajos, ergo...they would technically be their enemies, and since the true name is unknown, then it seems logical to keep the name that was given. My tribe happens to be called Cherokee, which means "Tree People" but I haven't tried changing it because I don't live in a tree. Besides, Anasazi kind of sounds bad ass and mysterious.
But, I digress...
It was really interesting to see the cliff dwellings.
Cliff Palace. Awesome.
I'd seen some of these dwellings in books before and had no idea where they were, so I was excited! We didn't want to go on the guided tour, so Mr. Lee drove us around and we stopped where we wanted to and took pictures. We had to take a really long trail to the first one, so we got to see them up close. It was a tough hike since we were at such a high elevation and the air was so thin, but it was worth it! Unfortunately we got down to the ruins at the same time as a very large school field trip of children, so we had to dodge around them to get pictures without kids in them, but we managed. I was a little disappointed to learn that some of the ruins had been rebuilt. When I go to see history, I want to see it the way it's supposed to look! Of course, I can't complain too much, because if someone hadn't done some work on them, they probably wouldn't still be standing. Oh, well, I still totally enjoyed it. We saw so many neat things and the weather was gorgeous. It was warm with cool winds. By far it was the best weather we've had this whole trip! We stayed at Mesa Verde until the afternoon and moved on to our next stop, Moab, Utah.
We only stopped long enough to drop off our luggage at our hotel before we were on our way to the next adventure. We stopped at a Wendy's for a quick dinner, and Steve was almost jumped upon by a very friendly Native American child. He got away from his parents and was intensely interested in what everyone was eating. Luckily, he saw another family that looked more interesting and left before he stuck his hand in our food. That other family wasn't so lucky. Also, I'm fairly certain that the guy who took my order cheated me out of a baked potato. I mean, I was OK without it, but we did pay for it and when I told him he'd forgotten to give it to me, he looked like I was crazy. To be fair, though, he probably wanted me out of there quickly and thought a potato would slow me down...I did sort of look homeless by that point. He wouldn't want me pan handling in his restaurant, I guess.
We entered Arches National Park to take a quick-ish turn around the park to see a few things before it got too dark. I know I'm beginning to sound kind of cheesy since I keep raving about everything, but I can't help it. Arches was awesome. I mean that in the most literal sense. It fills you with awe. I've enjoyed every place we've been thus far, but this place is just...I don't know. Jaw dropping, I guess. It is beautiful, of course, but it's more than that. I wish all of you could have been there to see it.
One thing Steve wanted especially to see was Delicate Arch, which is a very famous formation. We couldn't take the hike (Mr. Lee's leg and my ankle were not doing too hot, and the hike was 15 freaking miles long) so we went to a viewing area a couple of miles away. I'm not going to lie, it had gotten hot and I whined about the hike. I felt bad later, but it was such a long walk, my foot hurt, and it was hot! I think I've found the secret to keeping me happy while doing outdoorsy stuff: keep me from getting hot.
Write that down.
Delicate Arch is the one on the Utah license plates.
It's actually quite big, but we were kind of far away.
Other than the being hot thing, though, I was doing fairly well until I noticed my shins were burning pretty badly. At first I thought it was just from the hike, but it felt like something had bitten me. I was wearing jeans, so I rolled up the cuffs and noticed that that the skin on my legs had gotten so dry that it had cracked and red sand had gotten in it. Nice. Yuck. Ouch.
Since the light was failing, and since were were going to go back to see the stuff we missed tomorrow morning, we left the park to go back to the hotel. I wish we had more time to visit the town of Moab, because it has all kinds of little shops and restaurants that look interesting. I know Mr. Lee would let me go if I asked, but it would put us way behind. Oh well, maybe another time!
We got back to our hotel, super tired and very dirty, had a vending machine dinner and sacked out.