Friday, July 8, 2011
July 8th Mesa Verde National Park
We arrived here last night at 8:30 PM, just in time to set up camp without too much darkness, buy some essentials from the camp store and get down to having an impromptu cookout of elk sausages, Ska Brewery Pinstripe Red, and a roaring fire that we were surprised we were allowed to have due to the fire restrictions all over this state.
Our drive down from Denver was actually really pretty. We opted to come south on 285 through the mountains and stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park. I think the thing that impressed us the most is that we could see the dunes across the high plateau we were traveling on for a good 30 miles. Chris took off running up the dunes shortly after arriving, Justin tagged along behind him. It was hot, a good 100 and yet that boy, despite the altitude made it ¾ of the way to the top of the soft sand of Star dune. I on the other hand took a more leisurely approach and climbed at a snails pace, not dealing well with the heat nor the altitude. The number of kids who were snowboarding down the sand intrigued me. They were using old boards that were rubbed down with some sex wax each trip. It was interesting to watch them walk up and slide down choosing a new line or maybe even a new bowl each time. I even saw these two guys go down from the top, which is at least a two-hour hike. When we were ready to call it a day Chris and Justin ran down, which looked precariously scary but really was not.
On our way to Mesa Verde we stopped for a late lunch of huevos rancheros, burritos, and fish tacos topped off with Three Barrel Brewing’s Hop Trash IPA and Black Yak at the Peace of Art café in Del Norde. This was a funky little place with REALLY good food! It set us up for the next 3 hours of driving. We did however stop at an overlook on the other side of Wolf Creek.
I woke up this morning with a full-blown case of altitude sickness. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and die. My stomach hurt, my head was throbbing and I had been hurling for a good few hours. My only saving grace was Christopher telling me that I had to eat, drink and take a shower. So I feebly forced down two pancakes, a yogurt and some coffee. Within an hour I was able to muster up the strength to go see some of this great park. By mid day, after forcing myself to continue the ritual of drinking and nibbling on small bites I managed to feel much better, just completely wiped out. We spent the day climbing into and out of cliff dwellings which amaze me (and I think the boys too) eventually ending it with treating them both to their first Indian Taco (frybread with pinto chili, cheese, lettuce and tomato) which was prepared at this makeshift taco stand by a local woman from the Ute reservation. It was a welcome treat. Now we are sitting here doing laundry, catching up on electronic stuff and hoping to get into Cortez for some green chili tonight. Tomorrow its off to Arches NP and our final destination Salt Lake. It has been one hell of an adventure so far!