Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are We There Yet? Cliffhanger

DAY FOUR:  CLIFFHANGER

I woke up early, anxious to get out and see this amazing place.  Unfortunately, none of my family caught my enthusiasm.  By the time we finally checked out and ate breakfast, we got to the visitor’s center only to find that all the tours were sold out until lunch time.  But, as a nice silver lining, it forced us to see a lot more of Mesa Verde than we were planning to.

Our first stop was Spruce Tree House where I got yelled at because I wasn’t quick enough to yank B off the walls she was trying to climb.  Control your children!!  Indeed, I am trying, thank you.  The ingenuity of this place was really something.  I wish I could have walked through one of those sandstone doorways into the past to witness what life was like for the Pueblo people.  They must have been brave and creative and peaceful.  And really, really, really good climbers.
Then I hung out with the little ones while Shaggy took the girls on the high adventure Balcony House tour.  They did stuff like climb 30 foot ladders, and squeeze through skinny tunnels.  Stuff that the younger ones would not have been down with.  It was a nice break, actually.  The day was hot, but there was a beautiful breeze that kept it tolerable. 

Our third and final stop was the amazing Cliff Palace. Our arms and backs were aching from lugging B around, but that was preferable to having her tumble off the path. She was pretty much a menace on the tours, but even if we’d had room in the van for the hiking backpack, she would not have stayed in it contentedly. She does not like to be contained.
But despite the challenges of dealing with a headstrong toddler, we found ourselves in awe of this place.  We saw the handholds that they used to climb in and out of their stone palace.  I put my fingers in the same indentations that their fingers made all those years ago and felt something like a deep reverence wash over me.  There's something about ancient cultures that completely captures my imagination.  I love being somewhere that I can feel so connected to history, to a people who literally carved their homes from the stones around them. 
After a delicious lunch of Navajo tacos, we finally hit the road.  We were already 4 hours behind schedule and had to pull out another dose of travel fairy stuff along with snacks, lots of snacks, in order to brave the hours of driving through half of Colorado.  Which is a gorgeous state, I must say.  I could completely embrace living in Colorado, I think.  We passed through a beautiful valley with amazing trees, wildlife and huge red sandstone cliffs.  It was breathtaking.  My favorite view while driving thus far.  It only occurred to me to stop for a quick picture after we had passed through.  So this is taken from the wrong side of the valley at a scenic lookout spot where the dogs nearly dragged Shaggy over the edge while trying to catch a chipmunk.  It made our neighboring road warriors laugh.  But despite Ms. Garmin the gps unit repeatedly trying to tell Shaggy to drive off the cliff, nobody actually went over the edge.  And I mean that in both senses of the phrase.
The rest of the day was spent trying to amuse ourselves while driving.  A couple rounds of the abc game.  A few spats.  Some time listening to J and R get lost in their pretend play.  When they weren’t fighting, they were visiting Mars and Jupiter and Venus; or J was complaining about not getting to shop at every little souvenir shop we came across.  And the older girls were giving B some pronunciation lessons and then exclaiming about how cute she sounds while trying to say certain words.  Benbo=rainbow.  Nunnel=tunnel.  Blupblo=buffalo.  Ninnia=Virginia.  Noi=Illinois.  Pdet=gps.  Tel=hotel.  Ink=drink, pink, jinx AND sink.

As darkness fell, everyone started talking, teasing and laughing.  Somehow the darkness made the van feel close and cozy, like a little bit of home.  I miss home. 

We pulled into the hotel late once again.  It’s always a bit rough wrestling B down for bedtime, but other than the tours where it’s hard to rein her in, she’s still hangin’ tough with the travel/tourist schedule.  We'll see what tomorrow brings, because we're not there yet.

1 comment:

Kendal-Sjanne Lofley said...

Wow.. I know places like that had existed, but I never knew they were still available to see. What an amazing experience for your family. It be tough to travel across the country but your children will have amazing memories for a life time.