Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Now we head even further west to Cortez

 After our short stay in Durango we headed even further west to the town of Cortez where we had arranged to stay for a couple of nights on a working sheep ranch.  The weather in the northern parts of Colorado was still not co-operating with snow predictions and cold temps. The arrangements were to have the bottom floor of the ranch house, a self-contained studio apartment with a small kitchenette area.  The host/hostess were so very nice, both retired teachers, and the property had fantastic views every which way.

We had the whole bottom floor, a very comfy setup.

Their views in every direction were incredible!
Put yourself into the middle of this shot and imagine
the vastness of the views - breathtaking!

You can't tell much by this picture but in the evening's
golden hour the lighter striations on those cliff faces lit up.

On the way there we passed by the Canyon of the Ancients Nat'l Monument Visitor's Center/Museum, located near Delores, Co.  They have a massive display of artifacts, covering native pottery and lifestyle, a detailed section on the archeology of the area and on and on.  And a bonus is a great, paved hike up to the hilltop of about 1/2 mile one way, where there is an ancient Puebloan building site. We would highly recommend all of it if you are in the area.

Eye-candy of the area leading up to Delores.

Visitor's Center/Museum entrance area with local plantings.

I thought this "bug house" was cute,
meanwhile Ed's getting the scoop on the 
site prior to our hike up the hill.

what you see when you make the hike to the building site at top of hill.

A very pretty view from the top with Ute Mtn over there somewhere.

The walls had a ton of information on them too.

For my friends who sew, knit, quilt or weave, I was happy to see a loom and a display of what natural things were used to dye the yarn.  There was also a display where they showed how they used to slice turkey feather quills open and glue them to sinew and weave them into garments of various kinds. They did the same with rabbit leg furs. So innovative.

They used everything from onion skins to oak leaves, nuts and berries too.

Hanging from the left is a rabbit cape, next to it a turkey feather cape,
plus a good selection of awls, needles and scrapers.

The landscape is quite a bit drier here. This is Sleeping
Ute Mountain @ approx 10,000', his head is to the left.

This web site does a better job, with better pictures, of describing the Visitor's Center/Museum and it's property.

Another "must do" was to make a trip to Hovenweep Nat'l Monument and the surrounding areas. Even though Mesa Verde is also in this general area, we decided to give it a skip since we had both been there before and we were concerned about crowds. 

We packed a lunch and planned a loop drive to and around the Hovenweep site. The following snippets are courtesy of the National Park Service website.


The towers of Hovenweep were built by ancestral Puebloans, a sedentary farming culture that occupied the Four Corners area from about A.D. 500 to A.D. 1300. Similarities in architecture, masonry and pottery styles indicate that the inhabitants of Hovenweep were closely associated with groups living at Mesa Verde and other nearby sites.

Most of the structures at Hovenweep were built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. There is quite a variety of shapes and sizes, including square and circular towers, D-shaped dwellings and many kivas (Puebloan ceremonial structures, usually circular). The masonry at Hovenweep is as skillful as it is beautiful. Even the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde rarely exhibit such careful construction and attention to detail. Some structures built on irregular boulders remain standing after more than 700 years. 

There were a few building sites both near and far (hiking). We only did the near ones, which weren't nearly as elaborate as the towers and it's surrounding buildings. All in all though, a good visit, although from my perspective, I enjoyed the displays in the Visitor's Center more than just seeing these ruins.  It was a nice loop drive that took just a few hours.

The view of these closer buildings was a pleasant stroll,
the towers are seen in the distance.

Our time was up and we decided to head to Glenwood Springs on the way up to Rustic, with the thought being that we could get all set-up and shopped-up before the Memorial Day weekend. 

Thanks for visiting!


  1. What an interesting area with so much to explore!

    1. Yes, it was great. I really like more vegetation than that area had, but none the less, it was striking. I love when the visitor's centers have a trove of historically significant "stuff" to check out.