Day One - Out Toward Utah

Trip Start Jun 26, 2010
Trip End Jun 28, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Saturday, June 26, 2010

The first leg of this trip ended up being the same route I took last Fall on day one, so it was down I25 toward Albuquerque, then over NW on 550 up into Farmington, NM. Here's where the route changed, and I took 170 North through La Plata and on into Colorado on 140, toward Hesperus.
From there it was west on 160 toward Mesa Verde. From Cortez it was the 491 north to Monticello, Utah, and from there 191 North a few miles to the intersection of the 211 west, at which point there is a sign inviting you into Canyonlands National Park, so I decided then and there to take it. I had thought I'd shoot for Moab, UT this first day, but that was just an idea with a direction attached to it. In terms of miles, it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Off onto the 211 and toward Canyonlands, about 35 miles in. Some beautiful country there. I tried using my new mini keychain video recorder to film some of this route, and some of the route along the 160 west in Colorado, and later, on day two, some of the ride through Arches National Park just outside of Moab, but when I got home I discovered that none of this worked out for reasons I'll never know. Too too bad really, because these would have been some beautiful areas to watch in video and to remember. I'll have to remember in my own mind, and sorry that I won't be able to share any of the visual with you.

I landed at Campground A in the Needles District of Canyonlands, a more remote and somewhat less visited section of the Park, so there were actually spots to choose from. Plus, it was a very hot time of the year, and so maybe not the "best" time to be there. Nevertheless there were others there, and there was even a Ranger Program in the evening to attend at the very dramatically placed amphitheater, which provided a good photo op of the valley and the striking rock formations off in the distance at sunset, with the rocks turning red in the sun's waning light.

The subject of the ranger talk was about the 1000 year tenure of the Pueblo (no longer officially called "Anasazi" for reasons having to do with the meaning of the word in Navajo, which turns out to be offensive to the other Pueblo peoples) culture in the very large Four Corners region of the Southwest. Turns out there were more people inhabiting this region then - from about 300 to 1300 AD if I remember what she said - some 60,000 souls, then there are today. She characterized this culture as a very "successful" one. (While we don't know precisely why or how these people disappeared, it seems to me that if us current residents disappear, it won't be too hard to determine why or how when the future archeologists start digging around).

Slept under the sky, and under a wonderful, big, spreading, very old (maybe as old as 500 years according to this same ranger) Juniper in campsite #9. Up early, as seems to be my habit when out riding and camping, and off to Moab on day two.

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