Monday, June 7, 2010
What a difference a week makes. After just one week of spring-like temps, suddenly it feels like summer! The snow had completed melted off Sleeping Ute, which is the locals indicator for when planting should begin. Then we hit several bright, sunny days reaching into the 90's and snow in the nearby La Platas began melting fast. All the rivers are running full bore, even though it hasn't rained in weeks.
At work, a long time employee of Mesa Verde National Park gave us an excellent field trip to learn the plants of the area. She was extremely knowledgeable, and not only knew the life cycle of many plants, but also the various indigenous uses of them.
Afeared the canyons might become too hot to handle, we forayed into Utah to see some ancient sites along the enigmatic Comb Ridge. We saw the Petroglyph Procession panel, Monarch Cave, and Fishmouth Cave. The last two caves were very interesting sites, with sherds all about the ruins, and even dried corn husks here and there among the ruins. We also saw mountain lion paw prints in the dried mud of a tinaja. Alas, the gnats proved too annoying, so we retreated to the Abajo mountains to camp in the cool conifers.
The next day we toured Arches National Park. It is full of majestic sandstone sculptures, and a photographers paradise. Being Memorial Day weekend, the park was very busy too, especially at such iconic sites as Delicate Arch. However even on one of the busiest days, we could find solitude just a few miles from the campground, such as Tapestry and Navajo Arches. We explored the parks until dark, grabbed grub in Moab, pondered the Polygamy Porter, and blazed on back home. Time flies!