Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, May 26, 2012


12th Annual Mesa Verde Country
"Celebrating Our Song"
Indian Arts and Culture Festival
May 26 - June 3, 2012

Today being the first day of this annual festival, I rode the employee shuttle up to the park. I wanted to go to the Art Market and also to see the Pueblo Dances.

The shuttle schedule did not allow me to do both in one day. The events were at opposite ends of the park.  I rode up at 9:45 and returned on the 4:00pm shuttle.

I was in the area of "Spruce Tree House" on Chapin Mesa. The Pueblo Dances were held at the Chapin Amphitheater at 9am - 1pm - 3pm.  I went to the 1pm performance so that I could be on the 4 o'clock shuttle back to my RV.

To fill in the extra time, I hiked around Spruce Canyon.  I also walked on the Petroglyph Trail, but did not complete the entire trail.  There was a narrow stone stairway that I was having trouble negotiating, and I wished that I had someone with me to hold my pack or hold my hand or help me down. So, I turned around and went back to the trailhead.  I hope to get back to this trail with a hiking partner.  The brochures from the NPS suggests that you do not do this trail alone. The Ranger I was asking about this trail did not ask if I was alone, she just told me sign in the log book with the time I started on the trail.
click on pictures to enlarge

The top of the "problem" staircase
I went down the first 4 steps, and then it became more narrow (12"?)
and the next step was very steep, crooked and wedged between 2 boulders. 
I had nothing to hold onto and my backpack was too big.

I negotiated this area easily
Petroglyph Point Trail

I have a list of trails in this area that I want to hike. This week I found out that the girl that was looking for someone to go hiking with is transferring next week to Aramark in Glacier Bay, Alaska. I talked to her last week, we talked about trails to hike, but I guess she was not ready to "spill the beans" about her transfer. I want to go to Alaska :(

The dances were performed by a family from New Mexico
They are of the Oak Canyon Clan
They live at the Jemez Pueblo

The final dance of the performance was a group dance where they invited the audience to join in. I was sitting next to the Park Ranger and he handed me his camera and asked me to take pictures of him with the dance group.

Another event of the festival today was at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park Open House and Special Tours. The tours were of ruins that are not always open to the public.  We have had high wind warnings for the past 3 days with wind gusts up to 60mph. I did not want to drive the RV this weekend, so I missed out on this.  I checked their website and they will have some other special events later this summer.

Spruce Canyon
"dust bowl"

I feel like I received a free exfoliating facial today
from all of the blowing dirt and sand.

The festival continues all week and there are more events planned. I'm hoping to attend the Annual Bear Dance and Pow Wow of the Ute Mountain Tribe next weekend in Towaoc, CO.

Friday, May 25, 2012


That includes YOU,
don't let yourself ruin your day
with negative thoughts.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ring of Fire

Here is a link for some great photos of the eclipse

I did not see the eclipse
I was outside but did not look at the sun

I did not prepare ahead of time,
so I didn't have the correct glasses to look through

Some of the other workers in this park
were out staring at the sun and pointing.
I saw a few cars get off the highway
and park on the frontage road to view the sun.

The rangers were having a program up in the park
and providing the proper eye protection.
The employee shuttle was not going to that area of the park.

I did not want to drive the RV up there
(its around 20 miles to the top of the mesa)
and then down in the dark.
I don't like to drive in the dark
especially on a curvy mountain road.

There are more photos at these Facebook links:

I'm glad I found the blog listed above
through the Grand Canyon link on Facebook.

You can "like" many of the
National Parks on Facebook
and get updates about programs in the parks.

"Like" Mesa Verde National Park
and find out whats happening here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

ZUNI Dragonfly

The Visitor Center at Mesa Verde National Park has several pieces of Dragonfly jewelry on display.  I am drawn to the symbol of the Dragonfly, so I had to do some research on Zuni Dragonfly.

 Silver pieces on display 
at the Far View Visitors Center

To the Navajo and Pueblo Indians
the double crosses represent dragonflies
with egg sacks at the end of their tails.

Ask Zunis about Dragonfly and they will tell you that Dragonfly is the messenger who carries prayers to the Spirit World.

The double-winged form of Dragonfly is sometimes referred to as the "Pueblo Cross".

Dragonfly is recognized as a sign of water,
 which is where this remarkable creature lays its eggs.

Where there is Dragonfly,
there is water.
Where there is water,
there is life.

modern jewelry design

"The Boy Who Made Dragonfly" is a Zuni myth, recorded a century ago by Frank Hamilton Cushing.   from the Myth:
“I will paint your form on sacred things to symbolize spring and the spring rains that bring health to my people.  Your companion I will paint as a symbol of summer and the summer rains.”
Even today, the black, white, and red dragonfly arrives in the summer with the blooming of the corn.  He is followed by his companion, the green dragonfly.  Together they arrive with the rains, harbingers of life and good health for the spring and summer.

Dragonflies: connection to the afterworld, purveyor of dreams.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Far View

Far View is an
Ancient Farming Community

The rain clouds forming
 above one another
on the horizons
 of the four directions
having pity for our lives
quench our fields' thirst
tomorrow our children shall live.

Within a short walking distance, you can see several excavated sites. This open pueblo is unlike the cliff dwellings most people associate with Mesa Verde.

The path to the Tower, Reservoir and
 Megalithic House.

Nearly 50 villages have been identified within a half square mile area.
  The attraction may have been the greater moisture received
 at this higher elevation of about 7,700 feet.
 Corn requires 78 frost-free days to mature.
 The mesa top has an average of 85 frost-free days each year.

Far View House commands a stunning view of the countryside, including the canyons of Mesa Verde, Ute Mountain, the LaPlata Mountains, Shiprock, and other Four Corners features.

 Far View House

Far View House

"The family, the dwelling house and the field are inseparable, because the woman is the heart of these, and they rest with her.  Among us the family traces its kin from the mother, hence all its possessions are hers.  The man builds the house but the woman is the owner, because she repairs and preserves it; the man cultivates the field, but he renders its harvest into the 
woman's keeping."

Morefield Reservoir/Mummy Lake
In September 2004, the reservoir was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.  This water management system is one of the oldest engineered public works in the United States.

It is a circular depression 90' diameter and 12 ' deep, surrounded by a stone wall built in two phases, between A. D. 900-1100 and between A. D. 1100-1300.  The catchment area is 25 acres.

Far View Tower

Nearly 60 round towers have been found
at Mesa Verde, and some are connected
to Kivas by tunnels.
What function might they have served?

 Coyote Village
 row of mealing bins for grinding corn
 Tower and Kivas at Coyote Village
the Kivas would have had roofs
with a ladder in the center

Coyote Village

*     *     *     *     *

There are not a lot of parking spaces at this location.  RV's have to park in the dirt next to the road around the circular driveway. The first time I pulled into the site I left because there were several RV's already there, I came back about a 1/2 hour later and was able to pull in very close to the shrubs.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chapin Mesa

On Saturday morning, after I left the campground, I drove up the hill to Chapin Mesa. There are several cliff dwelling sites in this area of the park.

These four photos are from
Geologic Overlook
an easy paved 1/2 mile walk

Next stop was the Cliff Palace Overlook and the Soda Canyon Overlooks. I did not take the ranger-led tour to Cliff Palace. I may do that at a later date. 

 Cliff Palace

"The largest cliff dwelling in MVNP
Visible from several overlooks.
Ranger-led tours provide access
to the dwelling spring through fall."

 Cliff Canyon

If you hike to the Soda Canyon Overlooks, you can get a view of Balcony House.  This is the only way to see it without the tour.  

 Dark storm clouds, thunder,
some lightning and a few drizzles,
then the sun came back out.

 part of Balcony House at the left of this photo

"Balcony House: a smaller cliff dwelling,
not visible from the road
 The most challenging ranger-led tour."
Balcony House in the center of this pic
the arch is over the balcony
(click on photo to enlarge)

I did not go on any of the tours, my goal for this weekend was to do a lot of walking and hiking.

Three photos above from
Soda Canyon Overlook Trail
1 1/2 miles fairly easy with
some rock steps at various points along trail

I still have not gone to Park Point Lookout, Cedar Tree Tower, The Petroglyph Point Trail at Spruce Tree, the Point Lookout Trail or the Prater Ridge Trail. 

And..... Wetherhill Mesa does not open until the end of May - there are more cliff dwellings and hikes to do there.

Today, I heard that one of the girls working at the front desk is looking for a hiking partner, so I may be able to do some of the longer hikes soon.

On Saturday I also went to the Far View Sites, photos from Far View will be my next post.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Knife Edge Trail

I camped at Morefield Campground in Mesa Verde National Park on Friday and went on this hike Friday afternoon.

"This fairly level trail follows the park's historic entrance road and leads to breathtaking views of the Montezuma Valley.  Difficult to maintain and unsafe for vehicles the Knife Edge Road was later converted to a hiking trail."

click on photos to enlarge and see more detail

2 miles round trip, with a 60' elevation gain. This is an amazing hike, easy to do, and the views are fantastic, up in the clouds, at the edge of the cliff.

You walk out and back on the same trail, I stopped for a few minutes to sit on a rock and take it all in.  It would be a great place to take a lunch and spend an hour or so just sitting and looking at the views. I plan on going on this hike again.

There were many rock slides in this area, you can see rocks of every size and shape on the trail and hillside. Seeing this area in its natural state, I can't imagine that anyone ever drove over this terrain. I'm sure it was just a dirt road, nothing like the roads we now drive on into the park.

view from the trail

When I left the campground on Saturday morning, I drove to Chapin Mesa in MVNP and went on a few more short hikes. I will create separate posts for these because I took a lot of pictures.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Lazy Weekend

Last week I was off work on Monday, Friday and Saturday. On Monday, I went to a Museum and drove out to Lowry Pueblo, a part of the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument.

I did not go anywhere on Friday or Saturday. I was thinking, "Do I really need to spend all of my days off driving around sightseeing and shopping?". 

It was a warm and sunny weekend, I enjoyed my time sitting outside. (It is cold and rainy today).

I would like to find a few people or a group to go hiking with.  I have been searching online for hiking groups in this area and also asking around work to see if there is any interest.

the view from "Far View" Visitors Center

Sometimes I ride the employee shuttle up to the Lodge
 so that I can walk for a few miles to exercise.

Although there are a lot of things to see and do in this area, I am trying to pace myself.  I will be here for 6 months and I have to remember that there is nothing wrong with sitting around reading a book or just enjoying the view.

another "Far View"

With that said, I do feel the need to be active - exercising. Until I can find some hiking partners and to prepare myself for hiking at a higher altitude, I have been walking around the employee RV park every evening.  It is not a very long walk, but I can go up and down the different "streets" and go around more than once. I have also walked up and down the frontage road. The mornings are cool here. I will start walking in the mornings, too, when it warms up.

I feel the need to change
 my desire of always needing to
 have somewhere to go and something to see.
 I want to enjoy where I am at the moment.

I like my job, I am learning new things. My co-workers are pleasant to work with and I feel Aramark is a good company to work for. I am happy with everything here.

 I am really thankful that they offered me this position, working in the accounting office.  I thought that I did not want to do accounting anymore, but its what I've always done, what I know how to do, and this is totally different than what I was doing before. 

If I had been given the job that I applied for, I would have a 45 minute ride into the park for the cashier job at Spruce Tree, and right now the shuttle only makes one trip up and one trip down per day to that area, so the employees are there for at least 9 hours a day. Right now, I have the freedom to walk back to the RV at lunch time and some days I only work 5 hours. 

free range horses near the Far View Lodge

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“Happiness is self-contentedness.” - Aristotle

So contentment is not a matter with being content with your situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being content with what you have — but realizing that as humans, we will always try to improve, no matter how happy we are. If we don’t, we have given up on life.
Simplicity, of course, means many things to many people, but for me contentedness is at the core of simplicity. It’s about being content with less, with a simpler life, rather than always wanting more, always acquiring more, and never being content.
Simplicity means examining why you want more, and solving that issue at its root. At the root of wanting more is not being content with what you have. Once you have learned to be content, you don’t need more. You can stop acquiring, and start enjoying.   -from

*     *     *     *     *

Your life does not change when

when your friends change,

when your parents change,

when your partner changes,

when your company changes.

Your life changes when YOU change,

when you go beyond your limiting beliefs,

when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.

The most important relationship you can have

is the one you have with yourself.

-Author Unknown

found on a Facebook post

Drake Tax Software

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It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb