|The state flower, the Columbine|
We had threatening weather on the drive up. When it was time to hop out and grab our bikes, it decided to hail. Hard. Kelly and I put our rain jackets on and once the hail stopped, we hopped out and started pedaling. We had the occasional rain showers for the first 30 minutes but after that, we dodged dark clouds for the rest of the ride.
It was really beautiful up there. And we saw marmots! For some reason, I like marmots :-)
The ride was pretty easy. Both of us agreed that the nicest section was at the top when the trail was still double-track. At that point, you were riding along side the water. Kelly knew that he would be seeing the trail again in two days when he attempted the Durango Dirty Century race.
We decided that Friday would be a rest day, so we headed out to Mesa Verde National Park. What a neat experience. We did the self guided tour of Spruce Tree House and then the Cliff Palace tour. The history of that place is remarkable. For some unknow reason, the Puebloans left the mesa top and moved to the cliffs. The thing that struck me was the amount of work that it took to build the cities within the cliffs. Each 'brick' was carved by hand and then appropriately placed to make a dwelling. And even today, the structures are still standing. These things were built around 1200 A.D.!
|Up close at Spruce Tree|
|Looking down on Cliff Palace|
|Cliff Palace close up|
|Looking up into a tower. The Puebloans used the tower for planting purposes. At certain times of the year, the sunlight would hit the colors inside the tower, signaling when to plant various crops.|
We had a great time at the park. It was nice to take a day off the bike and visit a place so historic. It goes without saying that there are some truly remarkable things to see in this country.
|This is the climb out of the cliff. Things got tight towards the top when you had to make your way up two big ladders.|