Saturday, March 26, 2022

Four Corners Knocked

 Our  3500 mile trip in a nut shell. The destination was the four corners area which encompassed the Navajo reservation, many many ruins of the early native populations, a 50,000 year old crater and geology stretching back as far as 500 million years ago. Paleontologist have been having a field days for generations. There was no shortage of fossiles anywhere. It as certainly more than I could absorb in a few short weeks. 

Our first stop was in Baker CIty. I just had a little bit of time to sketch myself in front of the hotel mirror. I am afraid that I had little time to sketch much more during the trip. Everyday was jammed with exploration. I am going to try and make up for it now that I am home. But we all know how that goes. A trip soon becomes a memory.

 The next morning we stoped at the Bear River Wild Migratory Refuge out side of Brigham City.

It was just hovering over freezing but the birds were out there. Many swans, herons and all manner of ducks. I was able to sketch two American Coots  from a photograph later that night in my much warmer room. 

Arches National Park was a real treat. These old sea beds made from sandstone were uplifted in long fins. And then worn away by the wind. I felt as if I entered a time traveling zone. From a mere 100 year human life span to a millions of years life of a rock span. 

Luke was whispering joyful sounds to me from this formation.

I could see a mother Dachshund dog and her pup going nose to nose. 

What do you see?

All morning, while walking the arches trails I wanted to stop and sketch. Finally in the afternoon when the clouds brought a sizable rain/hail/sleet storm, I sat in my car and spent 15 minutes on a quick sketch. I drew what I could see. No matter the result, it was a good break.

After Moab we took a ride to the canyon lands. We hiked the Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah.
A great hike full of surprise. It was cold but we dressed to stay warm. The Dead horse part is too sad to write about, but I am sure you could look it up. 

On our way we stopped at Canyons of the Ancients in a ruin called Painted Hands. And yes we did find the painted hands pictographs. They are not easy to find but it is always a thrill when I find them.

We stayed in Mancos to spend a few days in Mesa Verde

It snowed outside our cabin. What a delight to just hang out and watch the still shadows cover the snow.
Sketching is a way of mediating. Again 15 minutes was all the luxury I took. 

Mesa Verde had a wonderful 10 mile loop of many ruins spanning several hundred years. We only saw a small portion of the park. There was so much to see and just not enough time to see it all. 

Sketching the Sand Island Petroglyphs

Here is an artists rendition of petroglyphs for sale in a gallery in Sedona

And here is a sample of a petroglyph we saw on our trip. This one was from the petrified national forest.

Here are two photos from our stop in Monument Valley

Canyon de Chelly was a great stop. We were lucky enough to find a Navajo Guide. He took us into a canyon that his mother owned land in. The hike was tough but doable.

A stop to see the Barringer Crater and what is left was left of the offending a meteor that crashed to the ground 50,000 years ago. A highlight for me because the information was so well presented. I was especially pleased to find out that the meteor contained 91 of elements that we find on the periodic table. Proof that the universe is full of the same stuff as planet earth. Home just got a whole lot bigger.

Artisically this trip was a flop. I find it really hard to stop and sketch for any more than 15 minutes. We have places to go! And things to learn. But I did prioritize daily yoga and writing in a journal. I also spent quite a bit of time at night learning about the places we explored. Geology and Anthropology were the most interesting topics. Without a doubt, my curiosity is peaked and I hope to continue my studies of this fascinating area. I am hoping to find more down time on our next trip. Maybe next time I could actually write about what I learned. In the day of so much information at our fingertips I honestly don't know what I could add. 

The last leg of our trip is worth posting.  Utah is mostly on the Colordo plateau, but when we headed into Nevada we began our journey through the basin and range. Which are long flat basins, punctuated by fault block mountains. We stopped at the Great Basin National Park and went on a cave tour and then a snow shoe hike, both on the same day. It is a gem of a park and I hope to return in the summer sometime. We were at an 8500 ft elevation so the summer heat would be quite bearable. Behind me is Wheeler Peak. 

And this is a photo fo the Lehman Caves. A well known cave for over a century. 

We were able to eat most of our own home cooked meals from our car's freezer/fridge. But we did have to eat out towards the end. And the choices were pretty bad. So our big surprise was stopping in Boise on the way home. Alex found a Tapas Bar and here he looks like he died and went to heaven. 

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