Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mesa Verde, The 4 Corners, and The Grand Canyon

Day 2 was a big day!  Because Cambry was a 4th grader this past year, we took advantage of a White House initiative - all 4th graders and their families get in free to the national parks for a year.  Our first park was Mesa Verde to see the cliff dwellings.

One thing we learned about these national parks is that the major attractions usually about an hour past the main gate.  The drive to the cliff dwellings was quite impressive.  I made sure not to look out my window on the way up - it was usually a straight down drop over some very windy roads!  But once we got up to the cliff dwellings, it was so worth it!

We took two tours:  The Balcony House and the Cliff Palace.  In our tour groups, there were families from S. Korea, France, and even Belgium.  I loved listening to all those different languages while we learned about the dwellings, and it was quite a new experience for the kids!  Listening to our tour guide, we were in awe of these over-800-year -old dwellings.  The engineering, the labor it took, the agility of the Pueblo People - all of it!  The Balcony House Tour involved climbing a 3-story ladder.  The girls were not impressed, but we were proud of the for making it.  As long as we didn't look down, the climbing was okay!

We were only at the park for about 3 hours, but we took in a lot!



We had an excellent tour guide!


A kiva - a two-level room for one family
They liked to decorate - see the reddish painting?


The view from Balcony House
Cliff Palace




On to the 4 Corners (after lunch in the van):


All afternoon, we drove through Navajo Nation, which included Monument Valley.  It was pretty desolate, poor country, but the great stone monuments helped break up the scenery.



Finally, around 6 p.m. we reached the Grand Canyon.  Since getting to the hotels seemed to be of utmost importance to the children, I'm afraid the Grand Canyon was not high on their priority list. However, as we took in the views around the south rim, their moods changed ever so slowly!  It was a little hazy because of fire, but wow - the enormity of it is amazing!










We eventually arrived in Flagstaff, AZ around 9 p.m.

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