I’ve had a long, exhausting last few days filled with travel, and am glad to be back and settled in to a working routine for the next bit of the week. I’m going to break this down into a few smaller posts about the last few days rather than inundate you with a long one.

After leaving Santa Fe, I drove Northwest on the lookout for some more neat natural features and Native American ruins and relics. What I found were a lot of rough, unpaved, and washboarded roads that wreaked havoc on my poor prius, which basically has the ground clearance of a Bugatti. I’ve noticed that my front passenger side wheel well broke off the bolt and will likely need a replacement if it begins dragging on the tire. My car also sustained major windshield damage from a rock of the highway while leaving Santa Fe that will necessitate a replacement. To be expected, but stressful. So I tried to avoid as many unpaved roads as possible to keep the car running alright.

Thursday turned out to be a bit of a bust. I had wanted to visit a few places but the roads were rough and at times nearly impassable. I had wanted to visit Chaco Canyon, a Pueblan Native American site, but as the Google reviews had warned, the roads did not lend themselves to my passage.

I was able to make a stop at Bisti Badlands, a desolate area of weathered land.

Continuing my trip up, I made passage by Shiprock, a 1,583 foot tall big ol’ jutting rocky thing that you can see on the horizon from faaaaar away.

I drove north and made it to Southwestern Colorado, ironically driving by the Four Corners monument without stopping. I was on a mission and really wanted to sleep just as the sun set.

The next morning, I awoke with the sun rising, and made my way into Mesa Verde National Park. Disappointingly, I was told at the gate that a large portion of the park had been shut down due to construction in the off-season.

After zipping through the overlooks, the first stop in the park is the Spruce Tree House, a large Native American ruin built in the thirteenth century, with 130 rooms and 8 ceremonial chambers, or kivas.

Travelling through the park, there was a long loop demonstrating ancient Pueblan dwellings, beginning with pit houses, underground dwellings where families sought shelter and stored goods.

Next there was a view of Navajo canyon containing square tower house, another large dwelling.

There were a variety of homes and villages as I continued along the mesa top loop trail.

More cliff dwellings were apparent as I continued through the park.

At the end of the loop, a large monument existed in the park that they dubbed the Sun Temple.

Around every bend there was a new neat structure to take in. Seeing the cliff palace across the way while being unable to visit was disappointing but still awe inspiring.

This park exceeded my expectations and I greatly appreciated the opportunity to learn about a way of life that had been previously undiscovered to me.

After my exit from the park, I made my way Northwest up to Lowry Pueblo. This was a small park with more developed and unearthed Pueblan ruins that you can walk through more readily.

All in all, I appreciated this quick stop to Southwest Colorado and am looking forward to seeing more of the state when it becomes a little warmer. After this, I continued on to more of the four corners area, visiting Utah and Arizona next.