Today was cool! The Indians have become better architects since Mesa Verde. Several ruins remain. Hovenweep is in an out of way place so very few tourists to compete with. Saw a leapord lizard, regular lizard and green collar lizard, bunny, gray squirrels and a vulture hawk. The journey (hike) took approximately 1 & 1/2 hours. We followed the yellow brick road, aha! - seriously, the rangers were nice enough to lay out a path with stones on each side of the path leading us to where we needed to go to. The scenery was quite different. Mostly bush plants, sage, mormon tea, and grasses. We drove through an area that must have been bordering the desert - there wasn't much growing there - yuck and hot! (From Mom)
The drive to Hovenweep was about an hour from Cortez, just inside Utah. Once you leave Cortez, there is nothing the whole way there except the Ismay Trading Post. I really wish I had gotten a picture of it because it is one of those things you just have to see. It was a building literally falling apart - the facade was basically nothing anymore except chickenwire with some old plaster. Inside was very dingy and dusty and there you could get various odds and ends - candy bars, canned goods, string, shoelaces, car parts, etc. No gas or other services. It was run by an old geezer type fella who lived there.
Hovenweep was really beautiful - out in the middle of nowhere, hardly anyone there. My favorite thing on the trip so far. Very peaceful, just as good as Mesa Verde in terms of the ruins - in fact these were better preserved and built. At the ranger station you get a map and then walk the two or so mile trail down into the canyon and around the canyon rim to see the ruins. Nice, fun trail; you can get close to the ruins, with occasional shade to battle the impressive heat.
After Hovenweep, we drove down to Four Corners. The only town on our way was the ultra-impressive Aneth. This is a Navajo "village" of about fifty homes with bright red, green, or blue roofs, otherwise factory-style homes. One church and one gas station with gas marked up to 2.09/gallon.
Four Corners is just as I remember. Nice, standard tourist fare. I got a virtual cache at the monument and we bought some Indian jewelry there - best prices anywhere, basically.
I took pictures of some lizard and ruins at Hovenweep and a few others here and there to share hopefully when I get back.
Tomorrow we're supposed to do a lot of driving - to Canyon de Chelly and Petrified National Monument and then back to Cortez for our last night here in this town.
Bye for now!