Ruins, hot springs & Moab..oh my!

We have had two very full days, and I’m not sure where to begin…There has been history, driving, adventure (of course), driving, eating, saying goodbye to Durango, more driving…lots of driving out here. But never fear- though the drives are long, they are also filled with diversity and beauty. However, I am not the one doing the driving. I sit with my feet propped up, shuffling the iPod and planning our next excursion. Jeremy is our fearless, alert and very responsible captain for this grand tour. He meanders around curving, dirt, mountain roads with steep drop offs 5,000 feet + (and no guide rails) all while I close my eyes and pray, or scream a little. But I digress….let’s get back on track to what the last two days involved:

Yesterday we headed East towards Pagosa Springs. Our first stop was at Chimney Rock, which is an impressive collection of ruins from an ancient Pueblo community built wayyyy up on a mountain in the shadow of two amazing rock towers (see photo below). I find history and archeology to be fascinating, so this was an exciting field trip for me. We had a tour guide (Alan) who explained the purpose and history of all the ruins in great depth, as well as the lifestyle, personality and spiritual views of the people who inhabited them. The most fascinating part of this community is that it is likely they built their homes way up on a hill to be in view of the Chimney Rock & its neighbor, Companion Rock. An incredible phenomenon happens every 18 years…the moon “stands still” between these two rocks. And this is the only God-made place in the whole world where this happens! This had (and still has) great spiritual significance to the Native Americans in this area. What a great journey to learn all of this and witness incredible preservation of history.

We continued our journey to Pagosa Springs, eating our packed lunch on the way. We passed through Pasgosa and headed back into the San Juan mountains north of Pagosa for a hiking trail “four mile falls”. This is a 7 mile hike in the deep wilderness to reach a huge waterfall. Talk about being deep, deep into the heart of wilderness. I swear Jeremy and I were the only humans for many miles. It was peaceful, but kind of a little eerie. We realized we are less country-folk than perhaps we thought. I had a bit of paranoia that a grizzly bear would be behind every tree. Jeremy assured me that he would be fine, as long as he could outrun me! (advice from his wise friend Charlie) Unfortunately, the hike ended early as major rain showers came into the area. We turned back, only making it about 5 miles…we got good exercise, but no beautiful view of a waterfall. 🙁 We wrapped up our day in Pagosa Springs. We had burgers & beer (just me) at the Pagosa Brewing Company. My beer was called Peachy Peach, and it was the best beer I’ve ever had in my short beer-loving experience. After dinner, it was on to soak in the hot springs at The Springs Resort. This is a beautiful resort facility with over a dozen hot springs, all various temperatures. The resort contains the natural mineral hot spring water into small hot tubs for soaking. They incorporate waterfalls too. Apparently, the minerals involved do wonderful things for your body…we could feel our bodies loving us. The hottest is The Lobster Pot, which we didn’t even try as it was 109 degrees and usually only had one bright red person floating in it. We soaked in a more comfortable 100 degree pool and watched the sun set over the river…delightful. Such a relaxing way to end the day. Jeremy’s favorite part was the bathing suit dryer in the changing area 🙂

Today we woke up, packed up and said “farewell” to the gorgeous and charming town of Durango. We had a three hour drive to Moab, which is our main destination for this trip. The drive had great views of beautiful farm fields, more small cowboy towns, and, of course, many mountains. We knew we were nearing Moab as huge, red rock formations began to appear. We even saw our first arch-Wilson Arch, right along the highway. We explored the fun and funky downtown area of Moab for lunch and some shopping. Our big purchases were water shoes for Jeremy and a travel journal for me. We checked out a great photography studio too. We got settled into our hotel and familiarized ourselves with the surroundings. We just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to head to Arches, so around 5:30, we left for our first glimpse of the national park we had been waiting for. We scoped out a part of the park and photographed a fantastic sunset. …This all inspired us to get out early for the sunrise tomorrow. So, it’s off to bed now, with lunches packed and the camera taking a short break for some battery charging. Enjoy the camera’s perspective below.

Ruins, hot springs & Moab..oh my!

4 Responses

  1. Awesome photos! Were you using a polarizing filter? BTW: Guess what last weeks photo class was about…..using a Polarizing filter! 😀

    Momm September 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm #
  2. A few of the photos I was using my polarizing filter.

    Jeremy Denlinger September 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm #
  3. Glad to hear you get to enjoy more of the West. To me, SW Colorado (the San Juans) and southern Utah are two of the most beautiful (and favorite) places on earth. Soak up your amazing trip and return home renewed. Blessings.

    Perry Engle September 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm #
  4. So jealous! We totally could have sat on your laps for the flights!

    jess September 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

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