It was one year ago this week that we took a trip to Utah and Colorado to visit the beautiful National Parks and Monuments in those states. We visited Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Arches, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Bears Ears, and Grand Staircase Escalante. Here are my favorite photos from that trip.
1. Canyonlands National Park
2. Capitol Reef National Park
3. Arches National Park
I loved Arches; like all the parks, it is stunningly beautiful. However, it is very popular, and draws throngs of visitors every year. We visited on a Monday in October, and arrived early in the morning to find that there were already two lines of cars waiting to get to the visitor’s gate, each a half a mile long. When the park reaches capacity, the entry gate is closed and visitors must wait up to three hours to enter. Many of the areas we had hoped to visit were overly crowded with no parking available. So, unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing.
4. Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde is absolutely amazing, and is probably my favorite of the parks and monuments we visited on this trip. It has over 4,000 ancient sites to explore! The elaborately built cliff dwellings are very well preserved. The village in the photo below, dating the the fifth century AD, was home to 150 people.
Ladders were used to get around the village and to the mesa above. I can’t imagine climbing a ladder with a child, crops, or game strapped to my back!
5. Hovenweep National Monument
Hovenweep dates to approximately 900 AD and was the home of Ancestral Puebloans who built multi-storied structures here that were expertly crafted. They are well preserved and pretty amazing to see.
There are six distinct villages in Hovenweep, unfortunately, we were not able to see them all since there was a nasty storm brewing in the distance, with heavy rain and thunder.
6. Bears Ears National Monument
We saw just a small section of this park, but the highlights were seeing wild turkeys and the autumn colors.
7. Grand Staircase Escalante
As with Bears Ears, we saw just a small portion of this park.
There are many other national parks and monuments in Utah and Colorado, which we hope to visit someday after our European adventure is over, and we return to the US. Sadly, some of the parks are quite overrun with visitors, as described in a recent article in The Guardian. In addition, Utah is facing a severe drought that is made even worse by increasing tourism. I only hope that climate change is addressed more seriously soon, so these amazing sites can be enjoyed by future generations.
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Stay safe and healthy,