Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mesa Verde National Park, Part II

Click here for Part I.

One wildflower in particular was in abundance and in bloom -- rabbitbrush.

Taryn and I were a little worn out in the afternoon, so instead of our planned self-guided tour of Step House we just took the tram ride around Wetherill Mesa instead. Here's part of Kodak House from one of the overlooks.

Long House, the one ranger-guided tour we passed on.

Taryn did get a Junior Ranger badge for the assistance she provided on our Balcony House tour, so she had that going for her.

Aside from rabbitbrush we also saw a lot of mountain sunflowers. So if you didn't like yellow, this was a bad time of year to visit.

After a brief trip back to Mancos for a little rest in the hotel and some dinner, we returned to the park for a twilight tour of Cliff Palace led by a ranger playing the role of someone from the park's past that sounded neat and different. Unfortunately clouds on the horizon sucked the life out of what could have been some really striking pictures with the setting sun.

The ranger presentation was a little dry, but seeing this impressive set of cliff dwellings at this time of day was still pretty cool.

Sunrise over Mancos Valley.

More clouds on Sunday morning flattened any pictures we might have taken on our morning birdwatching hike. We really didn't miss out on too many photo ops, though, as windy conditions grounded most of the birds.

There was a small farm right outside town that I thought was raising yaks from what I could see as we were driving by. Upon stopping for closer inspection and a little online research I'm not so sure any more, but I can't figure out what the heck they actually were. It would be really cool if they were yaks, though.

The most unexpectedly picturesque part of the drive came heading into Pagosa Springs through Wolf Creek Pass. I had no idea how beautiful this particular area was, but it definitely merited pulling over for a picture on the drive back.

Nine hundred miles in the car over three days, and not a single meltdown from Taryn. Or from me, for that matter. She was great, and we have a wonderful daddy-daughter weekend of memories for the rest of our lives. :)

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