Fire Rock Navajo Casino
Mancos State Park
After leaving Arizona where the temperatures were in the 90s and 100s, it was a welcome relief to get into the cooler temperatures of Colorado. We decided to stop over in Gallup, NM for the night at the Fire Rock Casino. Nothing special. Just your average casino parking lot. But it was convenient, clean and free. Plus they gave us each $10 free gambling money. Steve is usually the lucky one, but this time I won around $100. So free camping, free dinner and free entertainment. Ya can't beat that!
There were interesting rock formations along the way.
|We'll be in Colorado until Sept/Oct. Whenever the snow starts to fall.|
One thing we were a little unprepared for was how long the snow sticks around in the lower southwest section of Colorado. Initially we were going to head over in the beginning of April, but a blogger friend, Ingrid, told me that there is still quite a bit of snow in Cortez in April. We stuck around Arizona until the end of April when we couldn't take the heat anymore.
Steve working outside with much cooler temps.
We are staying at Mancos State Park in Mancos, CO where we will be visiting Canyons of the Ancients, Hovenweep and Mesa Verde. It's a small, pretty campground in the pines next to a lake with great views of the snowcapped mountains. $18 a night, no hookups. A central water and dump station is available.
It took a while to get used to the drastically different views from Arizona where we spent the last 4 months. We enjoy the changing scenery though.
The town of Mancos is between Cortez and Durango. About a half hours drive to each. A nice place to stay if visiting both. It's a small cowboy/AG town. A couple gas stations, restaurants, one grocery, a fantastic bakery/café, PO and library. If you need a more services like a Walmart, you can go to Cortez. They also have a micro brewery. Steve is looking forward to trying Colorado's beer.
The best bakery and coffee.
Lots of cute sculptures in town.
Off we went to Canyons of the Ancients. It is an under visited park.
We visited the Lowry Pueblo.
We learned all about kivas and how life was back then. Most of this area has not been excavated because there is just too much there. If they excavate, they then have the obligation to keep it up and take care of it. It simply takes too much time, money and resources. So instead, most of it is left as is and you are to be careful not to disturb or move any artifacts you may come upon. You are free to hike just about anywhere. There are roads all over. It is a good idea to go to the Visitor Center first to watch a couple films and get maps and ideas of what to see from the staff.
And don't call them ruins. You will be corrected. They are ancient dwellings.
These are very sacred to the ancient peoples and they still come to visit and worship.
There is a lot of farming that goes on on this huge mesa.
This is called the Pained Hand. The maps are important as this area is huge with lots of 4x4 dirt roads. You can get to most of the dwellings with a car, but there are some that having a 4 wheel drive is a good idea. Especially with the sudden storms that come up quickly.
Looks like a dog's head.
Keeping a eye on this storm.
This was an area we did some hiking to get to.
They tended to build in circular shapes here.
|Me standing 1/2 in Colorado and 1/2 in Utah.|
This beetle was huge.
We turned this day in to one large loop drive. On the way out we saw some interesting things and the scenery and colors changed quickly.
A lonely windmill.
|Wild horses graze everywhere in these open plains.|
You will see an occasional oil rig.
And a mailbox.
Yes, in the middle of nowhere, there it was!
Next up, Mesa Verde.