[cdt-l] And the road goes on ...

Jim and/or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Mon May 7 00:16:02 CDT 2007


It isn't thruhiking - but then someone recently asked "What do you do after 
you hike the CDT?"  There were a number of good answers to that question.  
And a few answers that weren't voiced - like "hike the CDT again" or "find 
something useful to do with your life" or "find something else that'll hold 
your interest."

We DID hike the CDT again - last year - and we may well do so again in the 
future.  But in the meantime, we've found something that's interesting 
enough to keep us busy for quite a while. And it can - and in fact, MUST - 
be combined with hiking.  So it's a two-fer - the best of all possible 
worlds.

Our last update was several weeks ago - and the response was surprising.  So 
much so that we'll continue to do this for those who care.  Those who don't 
care, of course, won't read them.  And that's as it should be.

For those who responded - don't get upset at a lack of response - this is 
the first time in 10 days that we've had internet access - and it's likely 
to be that way for the rest of the summer.

Onward - After our last update, we went back to the Navajo NM and spent a 
night being snowed on - wonderful.  But the next day we managed to talk the 
Ranger into making the trip to Keet Seel anyway - a 17 mile round-trip hike 
to one of the premier Puebloan ruins in the Southwest.  (After Memorial Day 
you can hike on your own, but we weren't willing to wait.)  It gave us an 
entirely new viewpoint on Indian history.  For those who think they should 
be called Native Americans - they call themselves Indians.

>From  Keet Seel, we went to Chaco NHP 
(http://www.friendofchaco.org/Home.html ) for several days - How does one 
explain a culture that was supposedly on the hairy edge of survival - but 
built a series of massive "palaces" (Pueblo Bonito, Kin Kletso, Una Vida, 
etc) - and yet never lived in them?  And in fact, abandoned them before they 
were finished.  It's a puzzle -

And the puzzle continued at Mesa Verde.  This was the second time we've been 
there - and we found it much less satisfactory than the more wild and remote 
ruin sites.  But we got a few more answers to some of our questions - or at 
least some more information/education to puzzle over.

Next on our list was the towers at Hovenweep National Monument 
(http://www.nps.gov/hove ) - much more remote than Mesa Verde.  And much 
less crowded.  But just as puzzling - why towers?  And why were they built 
at those particular locations?  The obvious answers are obviously not right. 
  The second law of engineering is that every complex problem has a simple 
answer - and it's always wrong.  It applies here.

At Mara's suggestion we also visited a couple of the ruins at Canyons of the 
Ancients National Monument as well as the Anasazi Heritage Center - thank 
you, they were both worthwhile.  It will be interesting to see what comes of 
this new National Monument.  A lot has been done in the past six years to 
make it worth the trip.  It has the densest concentration of archaelogical 
sites in the country, over 6000 of them, though they aren't always obvious 
to the uninitiated.  (Ginny's brother is good at seeing a pile of rocks and 
knowing that that was a 100 room village - but it takes some experience.)

Our next stop was Canyonlands NP - Needles District.  We've wanted to go 
there for several years - so now we've combined our hiking and 
"archeological" interests by visiting, hiking and photographing many of the 
archeological sites there as well as admiring the sheer beauty of the Park 
for the last 6 days.  Four of those days were spent in the backcountry, 
hiking the Salt Creek trail.  And yes - eventually we'll get some of the 
photos on the website - but not right now.  If you ever hike there - go as 
far as Kirk Cabin, the best sites are between Upper Jump and the Cabin.  
Most unexpected was hiking in falling snow on our last day.  This is 
supposed to be desert!

We left Canyonlands today after doing a final short hike in and among the 
Needles, and now we're in Moab, Utah - talk about culture shock.  It's the 
largest town we've been in since we left Flagstaff - and that was a long 
time ago. And there's a pretty unique culture here.  It's another one of 
those areas where you feel like no one over 30 is allowed on the streets.

Given what we're in the process of planning, we're likely to be in this area 
for some time - but not necessarily available via email.  Internet access 
isn't available in USFS or BLM campgrounds - and we prefer those to the big 
RV campgrounds - they're quieter, cheaper - and more remote. Since the 
National Park Campgrounds tend to fill up by 9:00 a.m. - we'll need to be a 
bit farther afield.
The nice thing about this area is that we can do a lot of hiking, visit 
several rock art sites, explore Arches National Park and Canyonlands - 
Island in the Sky district - all from a local BLM campground.

So -- the next update will be the next time we need to get to town for 
groceries, a shower, laundry and a beer.  Not quite like thruhikiing - but 
close enough for now.

Walk softly,
Jim & Ginny

http://www.spiriteaglehome.com/

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