I try to save my personal training money for family trips, and was planning on taking everyone out to Monterey for spring break, but with paying for the basement, and Tia stuff (hopefully she earns and pays back but...) we just didn't have the funds. I thought camping might be a cheap way to have a family adventure, and we had been talking about going to see some places south east of us for a while, so I put together an intricate plan for our family to go to the four corners area for the week.
There are four national parks right near the four corners point: Mesa Verde in Colorado, Chaco Culture in New Mexico, Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, and Canyonlands in Utah. I planned it in that order so we could drive in a rough circle ending up back nearest to home. We were to camp in or near each park one night, hike it the next day, then drive to the next park before nightfall and setting up camp in the new place. We planned to get back home late Friday night so we'd have Saturday to clean everything up. Overall the plan went pretty well, with some slight complications, but more on that later.
Our first drive was to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. The drive took a little under 5 hours, and was our longest drive by far. We camped in a little KOA nearby which was a nice way to break the kids into camping gradually. It turned out that Tia was able to get hours at work the whole week, and really needs to save more for Madagascar, so she stayed home. That was...kind of strange and sad for me. End of an era. THe other two were troopers the whole trip. They got along, and did little to no complaining about the camping stuff.
Mesa Verde was beautiful. We did a few short hikes through the Far View Sites complex (lots of ancient dwellings together, and an ancient reservoir), and Cedar tree tower, and the Cliff Palace overlook (shown here).
There have been rock slides recently, and Cliff Palace, and Spruce Tree House --the biggest cliff dwellings -- were closed, but the overlooks were spectacular. I kind of want to blow this picture up and hang it on my wall.
We visited the Chapin Mesa museum, and started from there on the Petroglyph point trail.
There were some steep tricky parts on this trail!
Lots of rock drawings (petroglyphs).
Bark beetles had a field day with this old log. I thought it was beautiful.
Some small dwellings along this trail.
But. It was kind of hot, and it was a little challenging. We planned on hooking onto Spruce Canyon trail at the end for another 2 1/2 miles, but the kids were a bit done at this point. See exhibit A above.
and Exhibit B. We actually needed to leave for our next destination by this time too. This was one flaw in my plan. We usually had to leave mid-afternoon for the next stop. This made dinnertime fall during the drive time. We had camp food, but only ate it the first night. Oh well. I'm still glad we packed it all in. Next stop: Chaco!