I had no idea what I was getting into. When I heard we were camping one night at a national park and going to be doing some hiking, I thought, great, isn’t that what road trips are for, anyway?
Well, I walked into Mesa Verde National Park, completely unaware that this place was so much more than hiking trails and nice views. In fact, I was surprised to encounter at least as many Europeans as Americans on our tours because, as a resident of this country, I had never heard about the ancient cliff dwellings located in the alcoves below this expansive mesa, so I was surprised to find it such an international attraction.
Without getting too deeply into everything I saw and learned, let’s just say they were pretty amazing, and the whole experience made me even more regretful about my lack of knowledge of Native American history. Oh, and you should definitely go see them too.
We spent a freezing cold night in the park’s campgrounds and, after much needed showering, headed toward Durango, Colorado for a mid-afternoon lunch.
We all decide we liked Colorado very much, and kissed it a loving goodbye as we passed over New Mexico’s border and turned east toward our ultimate destination of Wichita Falls, Texas.
During this leg of the trip we resumed a neglected task of finding cowboy hats to wear in the car, and stopped at a dollar store and mall, but had no luck. By this point, the high of road tripping was beginning to fade, anyway, and I was happy to save a couple bucks. We kept our pact to stop for a midnight meal, though, and pulled into a Denny’s in Tucumcari, New Mexico, around 11: 30pm. The whole idea was a fun one, but the cheap, greasy food weighed heavy in my stomach as I drifted off to sleep in the backseat, hugging a massive sleeping bag to me and tucking my legs up against the car door.
At five o’clock in the morning, it was my turn to drive, and, minus a few yawns, I was refreshed enough to take us all the way to our destination, my friend’s parent’s home outside of Wichita Falls.
I’m sure you’ll understand, when I say the rest of the story is we promptly crawled into bed and slept until noon.
[The pictures above and below are from a gorgeous sunset we caught at Park Point in Mesa Verde on Friday night.]
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Posted by Lael Meidal at 5:48 PM