Wednesday, December 28, 2011

'twas the week before Christmas

We were off work/school so we decided to take a vacation and visit... 

...Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico--simultaneously!

We needed to go see some mountains.  We needed to touch some snow.

we needed to go sledding.

 playing in the snow makes us cold...

but it also makes us happy!

 And guess what?  No one even threw up!  It was a Real Vacation this time around. 
We had time to soak in the views of Pagosa Springs in Co. and I didn't take many photos because we were enjoying ourselves so much.  But, for those who may be itching to see even more, this is what the town looks like early on a chilly winter morning, with the warm air from the springs rising up.  And here is a view of downtown at sunset.

Other views on/of the road:


Not only were the views inspiring, but so are long car rides.  They inspire giggling and singing:

and sometimes grumpiness and fighting and screaming.  (sigh.)

But who could be grumpy at Mesa Verde?

hello, ruins from 900 years ago.

In the winter, a lot of the sites are closed at the Park, but we did not regret going, nor did we regret coming early.  If we hadn't shown up when we did, it would have been a completely different experience.

upon arrival:

one hour later:

Once again, before:

and after:

The clouds invaded the canyon where the ruins were.  This is a look back as we drove away from Spruce Tree House, once we got a little higher up:

from there, on to Arizona and back onto the Rez:

Canyon de Muerte, AZ:

This place is just mind-blowing.  To give you a sense of scale: take a look at the picture just below

...and now take a closer look:

(see the ancient dwellings carved into the rock?  yup, 900 years old)

and here are some contemporary dwellings, all the way down there
In this next shot (below), these caves were unusual in that they were closer to the top of the canyon:
careful not to fall out of bed, that's a 600-ft fall...

Some final notes on the charming town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado: The single screen movie theater downtown shows free movies during the Christmas season once in awhile and the coffeeshop next door wouldn't hear of us paying for our hot chocolates.  As if that wasn't perfect enough, one night we grabbed dinner at a little pan-Asian place run by a Japanese couple.  They gave each of the kids' a white paper placemat and some crayons and promised to display any truly exceptional ones up front. 
Guess whose picture of a dragon was selected and then oohed and aahed over for fifteen minutes? I guess it just matched the restaurant decor so well, they couldn't help themselves. 

Colorado winter vomit-cation of 2009: officially redeemed.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Great post! Thanks for taking us along on this virtual journey! Can't wait to see these places for myself, with you, of course! So happy that the v-vacations are over!!!!!
Love, Granny

tangle said...

I LOVE that part of the country! Your pictures brought back a lot of memories. Great shots (crazy clouds!!) and so glad there wasn't barfing this time. I hope the dragon will be displayed for a long time to come ... m

Auntie J said...

wow, that's an awesome vacation. Great pictures, too!

lepetitprince said...

wonderful, that makes me feel sedentary...yes me! blow kisses to all.

clairesd said...

Oh sure, Lamia, you are so sedentary--a trip to Paris and back is practically like sitting on the couch! :)

Emily said...

We had a cabin in Pagosa Springs growing up and spent so much time there. This post brought back so many fun memories, I love it there. Next you'll have to ride the train from I haven't been to Mesa Verde since I was 7 years old! I remember thinking "what happens if they roll over in their sleep?" So scary.