Sunday, September 23, 2012

Beaver KOA

After a day of hard travel, it was good to pull into the Beaver KOA in Beaver, Utah. If I had known this park was so good, we might have scheduled to stay here a few more days to tour the area. But we're bound for Vegas now, and we don't have time to stay here long.

The park provides all the amenities, such as full hookups, propane, laundry room, showers, cable TV, and secure WiFi. Everything was in top shape and very clean. I can't say enough good about the facilities, nor about the service. I needed propane, and the manager came to my site to get my tank, filled it, then returned it.

Sites are all pull-through, at least all the ones I saw. There are a handful of cabins, and space for tenters. There is a playground for children and a pool; however, the pool was already closed up for the winter.

The location is on the north edge of town, so it is very quiet and peaceful.

All roads and sites are gravel, which is my only complaint. I prefer internal roads to be paved, though gravel sites are fine. And since this park is low traffic, the gravel roads were not a problem at all. Several sites did have patches of grass, and many have nice shade trees.

Nice shady sites with the Tushar Mountains in the background

On the Road: Moab, Utah, to Beaver, Utah

Sunday, September 23, 2012.

Our destination today is Las Vegas, but it is too far to go in a single day, at least for me. So, we are going halfway today.

Our 236 mile route

We left the Moab RV park where we have stayed for the past week around 7:30 this morning. We headed north on US 191 from Moab, passing the entrance to Arches National Park and the cutoff to Canyonlands National Park. After 30 miles, we intersected with Interstate 70 and headed west along a fairly level plateau. Although we had not gone far, we stopped in Green River for gas. After Green River, there are no other services for over 100 miles, so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of gas.

Green River gets its name from the river that runs through it. This is the same river that runs through Canyonlands National Park, carving those deep and colorful canyons in that park. The town is not attractive, but it has plenty of lodging options and eateries for long distance travelers passing through. After all, there aren't many places to stop on this lonely stretch of road.

Just west of Green River, the scenery changes at a place called San Rafael Reef, a 30-mile long sandstone wall. At this point, the interstate begins winding through narrow canyons, up and down hills.

The interstate cuts through a narrow cut in the San Rafael Reef

The San Rafael Reef, looking south
Black Dragon Canyon, just west of the San Rafael Reef

As we neared Salina, the land became very mountainous with long up and down grades. At its summit, the road reached a height of nearly 7900 feet. The trees in upper elevations and along the creeks were showing good color.

I snapped this picture while driving, but was able to pick up some of the color in the high country. The picture does not do justice to the color we saw along the roads.

At Salina, we entered a productive farm valley running north to south. We followed this through Richfield, where we stopped for more gasoline. Richfield is a very attractive town with neat city streets and a variety of businesses and lodging and eating for travelers.

Just south of Richfield, the road turned west through another mountain range before merging with Interstate 15 and our final stretch of 20 miles leading to Beaver.

Although we really didn't travel far today, it was a long drive. On many of the long up grades, I was able to go only 40 mph or so, and there were several sections of construction along the route. It was good to finally reach our destination for the night.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Going Off-line

We leave Moab tomorrow morning (Sept. 23). The places we have selected to stay for the next 10 days to 2 weeks do not have internet connectivity, so I will probably not post anything for about 2 weeks or more.

When we leave tomorrow, we spend one night in Beaver, Utah. It is just an overnight stop to break up a longer trip.

We had originally planned to visit the St. George, Utah, area for a few days. Using it as a base, we planned to visit Zion National Park and perhaps even the Grand Canyon. To be honest, we've seen all the national parks we want to for right now, so we are going to bypass St. George and go straight to Las Vegas and spend a week. After that, we'll go down to Laughlin.

And that is as far as we have planned.

See you down the road.

Canyonlands RV Park

We spent a week at Canyonlands Campground in Moab. It's certainly not the best RV park we've stayed in, but it is one of the most interesting.

First, the good points. The park has all the amenities, such as full hookups, cable TV, and WiFi. The cable included about 60 stations, with local news coming from Salt Lake City. Although we did not swim, the park does have a heated swimming pool, and other residents used it constantly.

Pool is located right next to the highway, but the scenery is impressive.

There is a laundry and two different sets of restrooms/showers. There are facilities for tent campers, and cabins are also available. There are lots of trees in the park, so it is nice and shady.

Interior road. Notice all the trees, but also notice how vehicles are parked because of the tight spaces.
There is a Texaco station next door with the usual convenience store items, including limited RV supplies.

Because of its location, it is fairly easy to walk to restaurants and other shops. A City Market - a branch of Kroger's -- is located only about 2 blocks from the park, so grocery shopping is convenient. There is a McDonald's and a Burger King located just across the street. There are probably at least half a dozen other good eateries within 2 or 3 blocks.

Even though the park is located on US 191, there is little highway noise. Sure, we heard a loud motorcycle or truck as well as other traffic, but it is really far enough away that it is not a problem, and our site was near the front of the park. The park actually backs up to the local high school football field. Each morning at precisely 7:00 AM, we were awakened by the marching band as it rehearsed for the upcoming weekly football game. Of course, this would only be a problem during football season. 

Now, the negative points. The camp sites are the smallest we've ever seen. Everyone with a trailer or motorhome experienced problems fitting their RV and vehicle in the camp site.

Sites are small. We had to wedge our truck in behind the trailer. Donna couldn't even get in the truck until I pulled away.
Interior roads are gravel. Although it wasn't bad, there was some dust caused by traffic. The park is so busy that there is almost constant traffic, especially near the front.

The entrance is difficult to find and also difficult to navigate. There is limited space to pull off while checking in at the office, and vehicle backups at the office were common.

Entrance is on busy US 191 next to a Texaco station.

Entrance is very narrow, especially for bigger rigs

Restrooms and showers are heavily used because of all the tenters and others who use the facilities. The park attracts a large number of outdoor enthusiasts who tent, and they really use the facilities. The laundry facilities were so heavily used that we opted to take our laundry to a local laundromat.

Although WiFi was readily available, there were a few times when we lost connectivity or it was slow. For the most part, though, it operated just fine.

The park is actually a microcosm of Moab and the area. Within the park, we witnessed a great variety of travelers. Probably close to half were in rental class C motorhomes, and most of these were foreign visitors. Younger people tended to be in tents, and a good number were renting the cabins that are available in the park.

At least half of the travelers had bicycles. Some used these only to go shopping in town, but many would take off on their bikes early in the morning for a day of riding the trails.

There was a large collection of off-road vehicle rigs in the park. These would also take off in the morning for a day of riding the dirt roads in the canyons and along the ridges. They would return dusty at the end of each day.

Although we saw many Asians in the national parks we visited, we saw very, very few in the RV park. My guess is that most of the Asians are with tour groups and stay in local hotels.

The owner stopped by one evening to visit with us while we were sitting outside watching the daily parade of humanity in and out of the park. He told us that they close the park for 4 months each year -- November, December, January, and February -- because of cold weather. Guess we made it just in time. He also said that the foreign visitors outnumber the domestic travelers during the summer months.

The main reason we selected this park was to be within walking distance of restaurants and other shopping. However, because of the steep prices, we avoided eating out while in Moab. So, in retrospect, were we to stop in Moab again, we would probably look at some of the other local RV parks. All of them have lower rates, so we could save a bit there.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Moab, Utah

With a population of approximately 5,000 people, Moab, Utah,  is the gateway to two national parks, Canyonlands and Arches. It is the center of a wide area that teems with various outdoor adventures, from mountain bike riding to hiking to river adventures. It is the base for numerous outfitters, and it provides a center for lodging and supplies. It is an active town where you encounter people from around the globe attracted to the many outdoor opportunities available in the region.

Tree-lined streets of downtown Moab, with their many shops and restaurants
Moab lies just south of the Colorado River, the same Colorado River which travels downstream to carve the Grand Canyon of northern Arizona. Moab lies in a canyon, with steep walls on the west and the La Sal Mountains to the east. The La Sals have a dozen peaks rising to above 12,000 feet, making it a destination for winter sports.

Canyon walls lining Moab on the west
Up and down the city streets of Moab, you see pedestrians going to and fro, and bicyclists pedaling about. Various RVs share the road with motorcyclists and tour buses. The tourist industry dominates the town.

A paved hike and bike path begins in the north part of town and extends along US 191 past the entrance to Arches National Park and all the way to the cutoff to the north section of Canyonlands National Park. The path is heavily used. Many mountain bikers enjoy riding the famed Slickrock Trail just east of town. Others enjoy riding the paved roads of the national parks. Other dirt trails abound in every direction.

But Moab is isolated, and it is a tourist town. As a result, prices are steep. Gasoline during our stay was at $3.92 for a gallon of regular, with some stations pushing $4.00. Burgers in moderate local restaurants approached $10, though you could go to chains (McDonald's, Wendy's, etc.) and find better prices. We paid the highest price for camping we paid for the entire trip, but the accommodations were not the best by any means, but I'll discuss this further in my review of our RV park.

During our stay, the weather was almost ideal. Nightly lows dipped to around 50 or 55 each night, while daily highs reached the mid to upper 80s. Skies were clear every day, and there was little breeze in the park where we stayed. The area averages about 10 inches of rain each year.

If you enjoy outdoor activities, bring your bike and hiking boots, and you can be entertained for a week or longer. Be ready to spend some money, though, because life in Moab isn't cheap.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reflections On Being a Tourist

Being a tourist is hard work. I may have to look for a new job if things don't get easier.

I'm amazed at how many tourists there are out there at this time of year. I thought that with schools in session, this would be a good time to travel, and it probably is. But there are lots of folks out there visiting the same places we are.

Coming from areas of Texas where tourism is not strong, we are impressed by the number of foreign visitors we encounter. Some of them are with tour groups that travel by bus from hotel to tourist site and back. Some foreign visitors are more adventurous and rent class C motor homes. We have seen a ton of these on this trip; they are easily identifiable because of the signs on them, such as "CruiseAmerica". Since they only rent the RV and have no smaller vehicle, they drive these motor homes everywhere -- to restaurants, to the parks, and anywhere else they go.

There is an older couple camping a few sites from us -- we think they are French -- who are traveling by motorcycles. They have a tent and whatever else they can carry on their bikes. Each morning, they take off for a day of exploring, then return about 4 or 5 and go for a swim to cool off before returning to their camp site.

At popular places like national parks, parking lots are full and there are lines for the pit toilets. Everywhere we stop in the parks, there are crowds. These places are busy. Traffic on the roads is constant.

I'm constantly amazed at how fast people drive in the parks. We take our time, stopping whenever there is a pull-out to study the view or take pictures. We see others just speed by. I kind of think that they probably have a "bucket list" of places they want to see. They really don't want to take the time to actually see a place; they just want to be able to say that they were there.

And all the cities near these parks are busy. From Santa Fe to Taos to Cortez to Moab, the streets are humming with traffic day and night. Restaurants do a brisk business in these towns, as do the shops that sell souvenirs and other tourist items.

It's almost like people are in a race. They have an agenda with places they want to see. Each day, they get up and race around, checking off all the places they visit. At night, they plan the next day. When morning comes, they repeat the process. When they have visited everything in an area, they pick up and move off down the road to their next destination and start the process all over again.

At first, we were doing this, but now we've slowed down. We are now spending a week in each place and taking some days "off" to just relax. And to be honest, even though every area we visit offers something different or unique, after a while all of these places begin to look the same.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Arches National Park

At 76,679 acres, Arches National Park is much smaller than nearby Canyonlands National Park, but it still covers a lot of area. As you might guess from the name, the principal feature of this park is the large number of arches found throughout the park.

The park is easily accessible from Moab, being located just off US 491 about 4 or 5 miles north of town. The Visitor Center is visible from the highway, in fact. (See map)

After passing through the gate, the road weaves up the side of a canyon wall to reach the top of the rim.

Visitor Center lower left. Road winds up the canyon side from lower left to upper right.
Once atop the rim, roads are pretty easy. There are a couple of ascents/descents elsewhere in the park, but nothing like the entrance.
The rock formation on Donna's right with the three tops is called the Three Gossips. At her right elbow is Sheep Rock. To her left is Tower of Babel and The Organ.

There is awesome scenery everywhere in this park
Distant view of the area called The Windows Section. On extreme left is the Garden of Eden. Look carefully and you'll see 2 arches on right side of picture. These are The Windows.
Balanced Rock
The South Window
North Window
Turret Arch

Indian Petroglyphs at Wolfe Ranch
The Fiery Furnace
The park is more than just arches. There are vast panoramas and many unique natural features worth visiting throughout the park. Camping is available at the Devil's Garden area. There are trails for hiking and dirt roads for off-road vehicles, but these do not seem to be used to the degree they are in nearby Canyonlands National Park.

This is a busy park, as is Canyonlands. When we entered, two lanes were open for guests to enter, each about 4 or 5 vehicles deep when we were there about 9:00 AM. Throughout the park, there are numerous overlooks and other viewing areas. The first one we came to --the area called Park Avenue -- was full, so we were unable to stop. Parking at these sites is at a premium.

Toilets in the park are unisex pit toilets. At the Windows, there were only 2 toilets and each had a line of 5 or more people.

Tour buses are prevalent throughout the park. At places such as the Windows, Balanced Rock, and Delicate Arch, the trails were full. Bicyclists were pedaling the roads throughout the park. People are everywhere.

This park is truly a natural treasure. Short half-mile to 2 or 3 mile round-trip walks allow visitors to get up close to the numerous arches and other formations. Allow a full day to see everything. Bring plenty of water and pack a lunch as these are not readily available in the park. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park encompasses 337,598 acres west of Moab, Utah. Park visitors can choose to visit either the Island in the Sky section to the north or the Needles section to the south (see map). Because of its proximity to Moab -- which is our base camp at this time -- we elected to visit the Island in the Sky.

We left Moab heading north on US 491, a beautiful 4-land highway. On the north edge of town, we crossed the Colorado River and began climbing immediately. Moab sits at an elevation of 4,026 ft, making it our lowest elevation since we left Texas several weeks ago. As we left Moab, we passed Arches National Park on our right; we will visit that park later this week.

A few miles north of Moab, State Highway 313 turns west and winds its way through a narrow canyon.

Highway 313 looking west into its canyon, just after leaving US 491

The highway began working up the canyon soon after. One of our first stops was to view two buttes, the Monitor and the Merrimac, named for the two ironclad ships that engaged in battle during the War Between the States. The buttes are said to resemble the ships.

The Merrimac and the Monitor tower 600 feet above their sandstone bases

Just south of the Visitor Center is an area appropriately called The Neck. An overlook affords a great view of the canyon country to the east, including Shafer Canyon.
Road descending into Shafer Canyon
One of the draws to the park for many adventurists  is riding the dirt roads in jeeps and other off-road type vehicles. If you look carefully at the picture above, you'll see at least 2 vehicles in the picture descending the road into the canyon.

Shafer Canyon
A few miles south of Shafer Canyon is Mesa Arch. To view the arch, you must take a short hike, but it is well worth the effort.

Our first glimpse of Mesa Arch; La Sal Mountains in the left background.
View of the canyons through Mesa Arch

At the southernmost tip of Island in the Sky is a place called Grand View Point. This point overlooks the confluence of the Colorado River and the Green River. It is these rivers that carve the Island in the Sky.

Imagine an arrow head with the tip pointing south. Visitors to the Island in the Sky arrive from the top of the arrow head after a gentle climb up to the top of the mesa. On the east is the Colorado River and its tributaries carving away the sandstone country. On the west is the Green River and its tributaries carving away the sandstone country. They converge at the tip of the arrow. Over the eons, the mesa or plateau has eroded except for the area known today as the Island in the Sky. So, you literally have a mass of land that is an island in the center of all these canyons. On the mesa top, the land is gently rolling with pretty good grass. Below, the country is rough and broken, strewn with rocks and boulders.

From the Grand View Point, you can scan the confluence of the two rivers, but you can't actually see the river beds -- at least, I couldn't. Just to the west of the confluence is the area known as The Maze.

I believe this is Monument Basin, near the confluence of the two rivers.
Looking south towards the Maze from Grand View Point. It's a vast country.

From the Green River Overlook farther west in the park, we were able to actually see the Green River.

The Green River
We stayed strictly on paved roads during our visit, and we only took the hikes labeled "easy". To fully visit the park, you need at least one full day in each section. To really see some country, you would need to take more adventurous hikes or use an off-road vehicle to get down into the canyons.

The highest point in the park we visited was Buck Canyon Overlook at 6,240 ft, putting it at more than 2,000 feet higher than Moab, which is at the level of the Colorado River. This height difference provides some great views. I took many more pictures than I posted here, but I've tried to select those that best represent the park. This is big country, and I do not think the pictures do the park justice. For every good picture I took, there are hundreds more waiting to be snapped.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On the Road: Cortez, CO, to Moab, UT

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time to move on down the road.

Today, our destination is Moab, UT, a mere 114 miles from Cortez. I like these short tows, especially on two-lane highways.

Cortez to Moab

Since the trip was short, we took our time taking off and did not leave until about 9:30. We began by heading north from Cortez (elevation 6,200 ft) on US 491 to Dove Creek, CO, (elevation 6,800 ft) and then on to Monticello, UT. For most of the trip in Colorado, we were on something of a plateau, and there was a great deal of farming, especially hay. We did see a field of sunflowers, and I also saw some corn.

As the road turned more west, we crossed into Utah, and almost immediately the land took on a different apperance. The farm land was replaced by ranch land, and ahead of us rose Abajo Peak (11,368 ft) and other nearby peaks. At Monticello, we reached 7,000 feet.

We did not see much of Monticello. We entered town on the east and then turned north on US 191 just north of downtown. What we did see was very neat and well cared for. It appears to be a very progressive little community.

We began entering canyons shortly after leaving Monticello, and the road began its descent. The red canyon walls are very dramatic, and vistas reach for miles and miles. The entire distance today was on a 2-lane highway, there was a great deal of traffic, especially between Monticello and Moab. At Moab, the elevation is just over 4,000, and that is a drop of 3,000 feet from Monticello.

Below are a few pictures we took at various stops along the road.

Interesting formation along the road. Mountains in the background belong to the La Sal Range, with 12 peaks exceeding 12,000 ft.

Wilson Arch, about 15 or 20 miles south of Moab

Our highway winds through the canyon walls

Canyon walls are steep and rugged

Cortez, Colorado

Donna and I really like Cortez, Colorado. It has been our favorite stop so far on our trip. We liked it so much that we extended our stay from 1 week to 2 weeks, and we still didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted to do.

After driving through the desert terrain of northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado, it was nice to arrive in Cortez. It is located in a fertile area, and numerous crops are grown around the city. Several lakes are in the area, including McPhee Reservoir to the north, fed by the Dolores River.

The town has a lively business district providing a variety of services. There are numerous eating places, including fast food chains and locally owned establishments. Grocery stores include Walmart, Safeway, and City Market. Lodging options are plentiful.

Realistic mural on the side of the Cortez Cultural Center in downtown Cortez
Donna and I especially enjoyed testing local brews in the two micro-breweries located within walking distance of our RV park. Both have not only good brews, but they have good food as well.

Main Street Brewery in downtown Cortez. Try the Porter

The town itself is neat, and residents for the most part take pride in maintaining their homes. Yards were lush and green. City parks dotted the little town, and all were well maintained.

Centennial Park

City park near our RV park

The climate was almost ideal during our stay. We heard many folks commenting about how hot it was, but we enjoyed the days with lows in the upper-40s or lower-50s while daily highs reached the mid-80s or so. We enjoyed being able to sit out each afternoon. Eventually, it got just a little too cool for us, dipping down to nearly 40 for several nights.

During our visit, we were able to enjoy several local events. Since we have to do some grocery shopping and we enjoy fresh vegetables, we visited the local farmers' market.
Local farmers' market. Guitarist in center is warming up to entertain visitors.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Notes from Colorado

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today is our last full day in Colorado. We have enjoyed our stay here. There's so much we like about this area.

The views are beautiful. We enjoy watching how the mountains change their appearance and color depending on the time of day and how the sun hits them. The sky is usually clear and a rich blue, and when clouds do appear, they seem to decorate the mountain tops.

I especially love the beautiful mountain streams as they wind their way down from the mountains. They run free and clear, usually over shallow, rocky beds, and they usually pioneer the way for any roads in the area.

People have been very friendly, and service in restaurants and grocery stores (about the only "shopping" we do) has been great.

The towns we have visited -- Cortez, Durango, Telluride, Dolores, and Manco -- have all been clean and tidy. Lawns are usually lush and green. Downtown areas are clean and well maintained. Coffee houses and microbreweries are very popular up here. Cortez, a town of about 8,500 people, has 2 microbreweries, and we sampled them both. Nearby Durango, with almost 17,000 people, has 4 microbreweries. In fact, I read somewhere that Colorado has more microbreweries than any other state.

Tourism is a big deal here. Shops and services for the tourist abound in all the towns we have visited. You can always find a good meal or whatever you crave as a tourist. Lodging opportunities are varied and plentiful, including numerous RV parks.

Having said all this, though, we are ready to move on down the road. Since our arrival here 2 weeks ago, temperatures have steadily dropped. Today, we awoke to a temperature of 41 degrees. That's just 9 degrees above freezing, and it is only the middle of September. We'll drop about 2,000 feet when we go to Moab, Utah, and gain about 10 degrees on average.

Prices here are a bit high. I filled up with gas yesterday and paid $3.75 a gallon for regular; it was $3.69 when we arrived. Meals in modest restaurants are usually 10% to 25% higher than what we would pay for a comparable meal in Texas.

And I'm tired of driving mountain roads. Yeah, the scenery is spectacular, but I really get tired of driving on a narrow road along the side of a mountain with a drop off of hundreds of feet on one side. And even though the places we visit are all beautiful, after a while, they all begin to look the same. Telluride and Durango, for example, both have historic downtown areas that cater to tourism. The streets are dominated by eateries, coffee shops, bars, and boutiques selling various clothing items and trinkets. It's hard to tell one place from another.

And it is so busy up here. Everywhere we go, cars and people fill the street. We are amazed at the volume of traffic that passes the RV park where we are staying. We can't figure out who these folks are. Are they locals going about their business? Are they tourists? From sun up to sun down, traffic is steady and brisk. And drivers here are a bit aggressive. Texas drivers can be aggressive, too, especially in metropolitan areas, but smaller towns seem to be more laid back. That isn't the case here.

But we like it here. It's a good place to pass a few weeks during the summer. Time for us to pack up, though, and head to Moab, Utah, for a week of exploring some national parks.

We'll see you down the road.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is a collection of 6 prehistoric villages built between AD 1200 and AD 1300 that housed about 2,500 people. It is located due west of Cortez, Colorado, just over the Utah state line. The people of Hovenweep hunted animals and farmed the rocky lands of this harsh, rugged country. They left behind a wealth of structures that give us clues to how they lived.

The pueblos of Hovenweep are actually scattered over an area extending for several miles. On our trip, Donna and I only visited the greatest concentration of buildings located near the visitor center. There is a short, well maintained trail there that loops around the canyon where the structures are located. To complete the loop, you must actually cross the canyon, which is about 80 feet deep at the point where the trail traverses it.

Hovenweep National Monument Visitor Center
We picked up a copy of the Little Ruin Canyon Trail Guide at the visitor center and followed it as we made our way around the canyon. I took a large number of pictures and will post a few below. Please use the Little Ruin Canyon Trail Guide to get more information about the structures shown in the pictures below.

Looking up the canyon
The picture above shows a number of the buildings in Little Ruin Canyon. Use the trail guide to help you and see if you can find them all. One of the interesting things about these buildings is how well they blend into the environment; after all, they are actually an outgrowth of the environment. Buildings in the picture above are, from left to right: Twin Towers, Rim Rock House, Eroded Boulder House, Round Tower, and Tower Point.

Twin Towers, which once housed 16 rooms.
Some of the structures, like the Twin Towers above, were built on the rim of the canyon, while others, like the Round Tower shown below, were built down in the canyon.

Round Tower, located near the canyon floor
Good view up the south arm of the canyon, with hiker on ridge for contrast. Notice how deep and steep the walls are. In the picture, you can see several structures: Hovenweep House, Hovenweep Castle (both near center of picture on ridge) and Unit Type House on far right of rim.

Tower Point, located at point between two canyon arms, thereby providing a commanding view of the community. The building was probably used for storage.
This view up the southern arm of the canyon shows Hovenweep House, Square Tower (down in canyon), and Hovenweep Castle on ridge.
Eroded Boulder House is one of the most interesting structures in the canyon. It appears to be a boulder hollowed out, then with rocks supporting the overhang.
Hovenweep Castle

This is a remarkable archaeological site. It is located 45 miles from Cortez on paved county roads through productive farmland. On our way there, we took the northern route via US 491. On the return trip, we followed McElmo Creek through a canyon of rich farmlands growing various crops, including grapes.