Tuesday, June 26, 2007

hovenweep +

Cortez is more than the sad story we shared earlier. There's a charming Saturday morning farmers market, great coffee at the Spruce Tree House and easy access to rivers and rocks, some of our favorite natural wonders. Thanks to Micheal, Rani and Griffen for sharing their home and great travel tips.



Back roads out of Cortez took us through farm and range land, where a couple of renegade/entrepreneurs have planted vineyards. In her kitchen/tasting room, we chatted with Ruth Guy. Water rights, the neighbor's habit of dumping his tractor oil and the "kiss of death" that comes with labeling your wine organic and their hope to grow sustainably with out being marginalized. We recommend the Riesling and Cabernet Franc.





Of the ruin sites in the four-corners area, Hovenweep remains the only excavated site. At Little Ruin Canyon, we camped with the host, rangers, ravens and lizards. The 11 sites still standing in and around the canyon feel like a neighborhood. Everywhere you turn, another 700 year old building. Square tower sits alone on the canyon floor, as if directing the the seep and run off waters. Above, the sage and juniper grow from patches of dark earth, the only mesa top soil I've seen that actually looks farm-able. The larger Hovenweep site extended for miles, with clusters of D-shaped, oval and right-angled structures. Best estimates show the community thriving for 20 years before traveling south.


"It's kind of an unappealing name for a town. Don't you think?" Checking the map a few days earlier, Ukiah commented on Blanding, Utah. I defended it too soon. From our tour of the highway and a few side streets, it seems to be an aging mobile home community with more recent cookie-cutter with brick facade garage in-fill. To be fair, we only passed through the town. Appreciated the outdoor sculpture garden, but didn't even pay the $6/family fee to look inside Edge of the Cedars State Park/Museum.


We didn't stop for Hole in the Rock and its road-side attraction "zoo"- but the sheer size of Wilson Arch had us pulling over along side tourists from at least six states. Past the mountain of trash at the edge of the pull-out, red rock aims for the sky. Along side a German family, we climbed, crawled and scooted our way the the hollow. Ukiah swore the view from the other side was not to be missed. With bare feet on hot rock, I passed him the camera.




FYI- Thinking of relocating? Please don't consider the new subdivision seizing this immediate area. Sure, from your traditional stucco southwest style or modern-rustic log cabin you'd have a geologic wonder for a back yard, but...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow--the arch is incredible. Thanks for your wonderful photos. Hope all is well.
Love, Gma.

ladybug-zen said...

blanding, utah...now i haven`t thought about that place in years. this post brings back so many memories. when i was in grad skool at ASU i lived in bluff, utah just up the road from blanding. (bluff is smaller and much more interesting by the way--populated by guitar pickin, folk singin geologists, rock art specialists, river rats, environmentalists, artists and one way cool liberal jewish grandma from NY)
i worked at one of the archaeological sites in cottonwood wash just north of there. bluff was awesome. blanding...not so much.

Lerend Zonder School said...

Thanks for bringing back some wonderful childhood memories! We used to go to Lake Powell every summer when I was a child and I vaguely remember exploring around Hovenweep. We used to get to remote ruins by boat and I was always in awe of learning about the culture that used to inhabit the area. We used to stop at Hole In The Rock either on our way down or way back up to Salt Lake City. Haven't been down that way for about 17 years. Sounds like you guys had fun.

owlhouse said...

We didn't make it through Bluff, Ladybug- but it doesn't surprise me that the town has interesting cultural aspects. This part of the west seems filled with characters, history and beauty. Possibly even Blanding...
Field work at an arch site?!? Intriguing...

owlhouse said...

LZS- We saw a tour company offering "moonlit" explorations of Canyonlands and ruin sites. It sounded wonderful, minus the "touristy" aspects. We sped through the area, not exploring to our fullest potential, making plans to come back in spring or fall. Sometime when the temperature doesn't complaining or blurred vision!
We are having great fun. Any suggestions for the northern part of the state?

owlhouse said...

More pictures of arches today, Mom.
Assuming I can get this slow inet to do its thing...
xox