The man way the woman way: Jeeping the Southwest

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Colorful Colorado lives up to its name here in the Southwest.   It has not only spectacular beauty but the best and most incredible jeep trails.  In the southwestern range you will find anywhere from 9,000 to 14,000 ft trails and they are definitely not for the faint of heart. If you have angina or heart trouble make sure you have your meds.

Being the newbies my husband and I thought we would give them a try.  I mean why not right.  So the 2 middle age jeepers head up the mountain and travel up like they are pros.

The woman way is purchase my books, and scour all the blogs looking at which trails to try first.  To locate the correct trails use my gps or garmin and map out all the roads I need to follow.  I mean you see how well that worked with the RV parking right?

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The mans way get in and go.  Don’t look at anything, just drive the jeep up the mountain.  It’s a jeep, there is a mountain, lets go.  There might have even been a grunt or two in there somewhere.

So being the wonderfully considerate wife that I am.  I forgo my woman way, books, trails ect and I jump on board with the man way.  I am flexible like that.  Jumping into the jeep we head towards the mountain we were off hair blowing in the wind (well mine anyways).

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Our route was through Gladstone past the Durango mine incident and straight up towards Hurricane Pass.  We managed to make it quite far before even having to really place it into four wheel drive.   So the two newbies wait until it is really necessary to place it in 4wd and of course it is on a switchback next to a ledge drop off.  I mean really you really don’t need to worry right?

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Well maybe not if you have driven the pass or even bothered to look it up but why do we need to do that?  So for about what seemed like 10 minutes right before we had to break the jeep book out, to make sure we were doing it right, on the switchback, on the ledge with a 12,000 ft drop down, with the wife trying not to utter a word, we get it in gear.

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I have to say being on the side of a 12,000 to 14,000 foot drop barely wide enough for your vehicle to fit makes you think and wonder (for a catholic)  man I hope I made a good confession.  A couple of times we stated to each other, we are way to old for this crap and the words no sooner coming out of our mouth and we pass a couple in there 70’s.  So not to be out done by the old folks we forge on.

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At times having to maneuver the jeep around other jeeps trying to get up the same mountain with a sheer drop off and really only space for 1 jeep.  Talk about adrenalin!  I would say this is definitely enough of a pump for an adventure junkie.

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The jeeping trails in Colorado are fantastic and whether you do it the man way or the woman way you are sure to get not only a great view but a great ride.   Most of our big trails don’t open up until around June or July due to snow pack and then close sometime in October usually again for snow pack.

I would love for you to come visit my home state and it’s incredible hiking and jeeping trails.  So if your making a weekend trip or longer from out of the area and if you need a place to stay please use my website booking link or go to travelwitht.mtravel.com.  It’s how I make a living on my blog.  If you book anywhere I post about let’s say a hotel I make a little money.  In Silverton I have Teller House listed. All the hotels in the area are period style places and reminiscent of the old west.   They are a classic way to stay the night and enjoy what the little town has to offer.  Especially since these beautiful trails are right by the area.

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Please check out our future travel and let me know if you want to join us.  After all the blog is TravelwithT.net.  Happy Day!

Take a glimpse into ancient culture; destination: Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings

Mesa Verde National Park is an incredible adventure into the past but also a vast area of beautiful wilderness where you can hike, bike, and camp

Mesa verde 12                                                                  Mesa Verde National Park is an incredible adventure into the past and a vast area of beautiful wilderness where you can hike, bike, and camp.   You can step into the world of the Ancestral Pueblo people at this amazing archeological site.   Discover and experience their world of 550 AD, where the pueblo people lived for over 700 years throughout this area.  Mesa Verde (Spanish for the Green Table)  is a spectacular site to visit.  Named rightly because its appears to be a large green table flat on the top typical of a Mesa.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States.   The park was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.   It is the largest archeological preserve in the U.S.  The park itself occupies 52,485 acres near the Four Corners and features some 600 cliff dwellings a numerous ruins of homes and villages.

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Just the drive up to the ruins and you are gifted with incredible views of the whole county.  The winding road to the top will present you with vast skyline views of the Four Corners, wild flowers, and various wildlife along the way.  We were lucky enough to catch the local herd of wild horses in the park.  These animals are actually up for debate as to whether or not they are actually wild or feral from local reservation.

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Mesa Verde is better seen in various trips or a longer period of time.  We have decided to make several day trips to enable us to enjoy the expansive park properly.

mesa verde 5Today we opted for a trip with a short hike to one of the quieter parts of the park. The Wetherill Mesa is open from May through September.  We only made one stop to one of the self guided ruins known as the Step House.  It features an alcove, pit houses, and cliff dwelling.  There are rangers on site for questions.  The hike was fairly easy and about a 1 mile round trip.  The rangers will tell you to plan for about an hour.   There are two ways in, one features several levels of stairs and the other is flat with no stairs.  We opted for the longer way around using the stairs and are happy we did.  We were able to get some great views of the whole alcove as we hiked it.

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Once in the dwelling site you are very close and are able to walk around the whole area.  They don’t allow standing on the walls but you are basically right inside the alcove in the historical site.  It’s pretty incredible to imagine the pueblo ancestral people living here.  You get to experience a little of what it might feel like as you walk in and around the Step House.   The Step House is named for the steps that are located next to the courtyard and dwellings.

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Between 1190 and 1270 most of the cliff dwellings were built.  There are community centers which have about 150 rooms to one room houses, kivas and courtyards. The structures are often built just fitting them in where they could with no real building plan.  The walls are single courses of stone.   To protect the walls and roof from weather erosion they are a limited height.   The Ancestral Pueblo only lived in the cliff dwellings for about 100 years.  Archeology study suggest that about the 1300’s Mesa Verde was abandoned.   Why they left is still being debated.   Where did they go?   They joined thousands of other ancestral people moving from what is today’s New Mexico and Arizona

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Mesa Verde is definitely a site to see, live, and experience.  You find incredible outdoor hikes, fantastic scenery, and a glimpse into the past of this great people and their history here in the southwestern United States.  National Parks are our treasure and should be trips on everyone’s bucket list.  You can’t beat them for incredible beauty, history and learning opportunities.  So for your next discovery destination try Mesa Verde National Park.

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