Sunday, 25 September 2011

Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Archaeologists think Salmon Ruins was a major Chacoan Outlier abandoned by the Ancestral Puebloans in 1150 and then occupied for about 50 years by Mesa Verde people.

Later, Spanish explorers and Athabascan settlers moved into the area and in 1874 the site was photographed, becoming the first photographic documentation of the Great House.

Peter Milton Salmon homesteaded land by the ancient pueblo in 1877 and later his son George founded his homestead on land that included the pueblo ruins.

In 1969 Salmon descendants sold the land to the San Juan County Museum Associated who asked Dr Cynthia-Irwin Williams to direct excavations at the ruins.

Have fun, we are!

Aztec Ruins National Monument

It was cloudy and cool when we set off for Aztec Ruins, but that didn’t last long and soon the sun was shining again.

After visiting the museum and watching the orientation video, the rangers give you a guide and you take the walking tour around and through the ruins at your own pace.

 The ruins have an unusual building that has triple sided walls, the reason for the triple sided walls is not known, sections of the walls are visible but as with a lot of the site after excavation it was backfilled for preservation.

Part of the trail leads through an interior section which is thought to have been used for trash or storage,

Doors leading further into the interior are covered with perspex to stop you wandering around indiscriminately.   Beyond the perspex one of the doors still has remnants of the original woven covering in place.  The photograph is a bit grainy but you can just about make it out.

Ceilings were made with huge wooden supports, on top of which were smaller poles covered with some sort of brush type stuff and finally finished off with mud stamped on top.   Dried mud is still visible between the poles.

The central plaza contains a reconstruction of how archaeologists once thought a kiva would look,

Although it is now thought that the ceiling would have been lower.   It was very interesting.

Have fun, we are!

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is beautiful and when we were there, very hot and very busy, although we were told if we thought it was busy then we should see it in the autumn when it’s peak season!

There are over 2,000 arches in the national park and we visited just a few.

A huge chunk fell from Landscape Arch a few years ago, it’s now very fragile and may collapse at any moment, so to avoid a chunk falling on an unwary visitor you’re no longer allowed to walk underneath it.

Tunnel Arch, it would be spectacular to watch the water pouring through after a storm.

Pine Tree Arch, is a very cute little arch and has a lovely sculpted sandstone bench underneath, just right for sitting and admiring the view.

 Skyline Arch.

DB declined walking to Sand Dune Arch because, as he put it, he was all ‘arched out’ so as it’s only a short walk I went on my own. 

To reach the arch you walk through the narrow sandstone fins where it’s cool, shady and ever so slightly spooky.  

After that you basically follow the footsteps in the soft sand to the arch.

We also looked at Fiery Furnace.   I say looked because it’s only accessible on a ranger guided tour or with a permit, after you’ve satisfied the park rangers that you’re capable of finding your way out!   This is because it’s so easy to get disorientated among the narrow sandstone fins.  I think it would be too enclosed for me so a hike through there isn’t on my bucket list.  

And last, but not least, the most famous arch, one that has been seen all over the world, Delicate Arch.

We never did get to hike to Delicate Arch as the parking area was always overflowing, maybe next time.

Have fun, we are!

Friday, 16 September 2011


As you can probably tell we are, again, somewhat behind with the blog, which is why I've only just realised we have a new follower.   Welcome Sue Castle, we hope you enjoy following us on our adventures!

Have fun, we are!

Needles Overlook

Stark, beautiful, rugged, remote, slightly scary and definitely not somewhere to get lost!   Simply one way to describe the awe inspiring views from Needles Overlook across Utah’s Canyonlands.

The silence is so absolute it makes your ears ring the only sound is the keening of the wind and the flapping of a raven’s wings as it flies past.

Needles Overlook is at the end of a paved road a few miles south of Moab just off highway 191.
On the way we passed Wilson Arch which is named after Joe Wilson a local pioneer who had a cabin in nearby Dry Valley.

Have fun, we are!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Island in the Sky

Island in the Sky is where the Green joins the Colorado River before continuing on through the Grand Canyon.  The rivers and canyons were uncharted until 1869 when Major John Wesley Powell set off with 4 wooden boats and nine oarsmen on a journey of exploration.   River runners still travel the river but use rubber boats instead of wooden ones.

Green River overlook.

The White Rim jeep road winds for miles, ordinarily it takes several days to complete the drive although at present part of the road has been washed out and is impassable.

The Potash Road reaches the junction with the White Rim Road before climbing up the Schafer Switchbacks.

Two different views of the switchbacks.

I’m not sure about the White Rim Road, but I think we’ll have to come back in the future and take the Potash Road

Have fun, we are!

In search of Thelma & Louise

Somewhere in or near Dead Horse State Park is where the final scene of Thelma & Louise was filmed.   There are several mesas that looked just like ‘the’ spot and in the end I narrowed it down to a choice of about 4!   Oh well!

Cowboys used to herd horses into a corral on the mesa across a narrow strip of land, the story goes that a corral full of horses were forgotten and within sight of the Colorado River, but unable to reach it they died of thirst, hence the name, Dead Horse State Park.

Amazing views extend in all directions across the Colorado River, towards The Island In the Sky, Needles and Maze sections of Canyonlands National Park, it was hard to know which way to look first.
The Potash jeep road follows the Colorado River past Dead Horse State Park

before heading off to into Island In the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park.

We watched several jeeps taking the dusty road.

Have fun, we are!