Day 184 – Monument Valley Meander (Part 3) and San Juan Skyways, May 30, 2011
The full moon glowed through the dust filled sky and the wind continued in force for a few more hours. Midway through the night, the gusts subsided and we awoke to a glorious day. As we left Hovenweep National Monument, we passed by prairie dogs, sheep, goats, and a herd dog as we headed south toward the Four Corners Monument, where we will say farewell to Utah and hello Colorado.
Four Corners Monument is where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. It is the only place in the United States where four borders meet. For some reason, I was expecting the monument to be a National site and owned by the federal government, despite the fact “National” wasn’t included in the name. Little did I know the monument is on an Indian Reservation. I paid the $3 admission so I could stand in all four states at once. All of us tourists took turns posing on the dot. Almost everyone had their hands and feet touching each square. When it was my turn, I made sure Petey got a paw in each state.
I tried some Indian fry bread before leaving, and actually briefly drove through Arizona and New Mexico before turning north to Durango, Colorado. I stood in and drove in all four states in less than an hour!
Colorado…or heaven on earth…at least to me anyway. As soon as I arrive, peace overtakes me. I’m not sure why except perhaps it due to the amazing summers I spent in Colorado as a child. Upon arriving in Durango, I took 25th street to Junction Creek Road where I found the trailhead to the Colorado Trail and just around the bend a campground. After claiming my site, Petey and I returned to the trailhead parking and meandered down the path along the river.
I expected to take an hour stroll before packing it in and grabbing a bite to eat in town, but as I passed countless hikers and mountain bikers returning from their adventures, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a special spot on the trail. I asked one couple if there were any “must sees” and they replied pointing, “See those rocks up there…if you don’t mind a climbing up a few switchbacks there’s a bench and a fantastic view. You just cross the bridge about a mile up the way”.
With Petey in tow, I didn’t think we could make it up to the bench, but I decided the bridge would be a good turn around point. Once we reached the bridge, the rocks didn’t seem that far away. Petey walked much further in the heat the other day, so I decided to take advantage of the crisp cool air, ditch the main trail full of people, and continue up the mountain. The rocky switchbacks, while not that steep, were extremely long. At Petey’s pace, it seemed like forever to get up there, especially as mountain bikers passed me going uphill. We finally reached the peak for a view of the valley below and promptly turned around as it was approaching dinner time. Our hour-long stroll turned into 2.5 hours and helped me work up a big appetite.
I left Petey in VANilla to rest while I found a spot at the bar at Ore House. I went to a steak house and ordered a spinach salad and a fried calamari and artichoke appetizer! I just needed some greens and the artichokes included with calamari sounded too intriguing to pass up. I loved every bite! ETB