Colorado – Canyon of the Ancients & Mesa Verde National Park

June 18-23, 2015

We camped at McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado for a week so we could explore the Canyon of the Ancients.  The heat wave was just getting into full swing, so we tried to get started as early in the day as we could (which isn’t very early).  We were able to get in some great hikes even though the heat was pretty brutal.  A short, but very pretty hike in our campground took us to a view over McPhee Reservoir.  We came upon a group of firefighters doing their calisthenics.  Cute!

Mike and Lucy on the

Mike and Lucy on the “Can Do Trail” at McPhee Reservoir

Approaching the overlook and a crew of firefighters doing exercises

Approaching the overlook and a crew of firefighters doing exercises

Can Do Trail 4Can Do Trail 5On another day we did a 9-mile hike called Boggy Draw Trail in Dolores.  We were under a time constraint because we were scheduled for a ‘basement’ tour at the Anasazi Heritage Museum.  So we did this hike without stopping for any breaks.  Glad it wasn’t very difficult!

9-Mile Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado

9-Mile Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado

Boggy Draw Trail 9 miles - 2Boggy Draw Trail 9 miles - 3

We joined a ‘basement’ tour at the Anasazi Heritage Museum.  It was interesting to see how they catalog, file, inspect, research, preserve and store all the millions of artifacts at this museum.

Anasazi Heritage Museum

Anasazi Heritage Museum

This is just one of the many rooms below the Museum where millions of artifacts are researched and preserved.

This is just one of the many rooms below the Museum where millions of artifacts are researched and preserved.

Galloping Goose Railroad Museum in Dolores

Galloping Goose Railroad Museum in Dolores.  We will actually be taking a ride on this very train in July.  Should be a hoot.

We drove to the Canyons of the Ancients and hiked the 2-mile loop to view the towers  built by the ancestral Pueblo people around the year 1230 at Hovenweep National Monument.Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 1Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 2Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 3Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 4

We climbed out of the canyon on the Little Ruin Trail at Hovenweep.

We climbed out of the canyon on the Little Ruin Trail at Hovenweep.

We couldn’t resist the temptation of renting a kayak to get out on the water at McPhee Reservoir.  So fun!!

Doc's Rentals in Dolores delivered our kayak to a boat ramp on the reservoir.

Doc’s Rentals in Dolores delivered our kayak to a boat ramp on the reservoir.

Lucy thought it was great to be back on the water.  She is shaded by an umbrella that I held for most of the day to avoid too much sun.

Lucy thought it was great to be back on the water. She is shaded by an umbrella that I held for most of the day to avoid too much sun.

Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 4Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 6Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 2

Mike says my Indian name is

Mike says my Indian name is “Girl Who Does Not Paddle”. That’s the name he gave me when we took a one-week canoe trip on the Green River 20 years ago.

Kayak on McPhee Reservoir - 84

We drove to Mesa Verde National Park a couple of times.  The views are amazing!  We enjoyed a picnic lunch at Park Point, which is the highest elevation at Mesa Verde and has a 360 degree view.Mesa Verde National Park - Park Point 2Mesa Verde National Park - Park Point 3We went back on another day and toured a number of the ruins, as well as hiking the Petroglyph Point Trail, for a total of 7 miles hiking.

Mesa Verde National Park, Cliff Palace Ruins

Mesa Verde National Park, Cliff Palace Ruins

Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace Ruins 2Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace Ruins 3

We hiked the 3-mile Petroglyph Point Trail

We hiked the 3-mile Petroglyph Point Trail

This was an interesting trail!

This was an interesting trail!

Mesa Verde National Park - Petroglyph Trail 3

Yikes.  That's a lot of stair climbing!

Yikes. That’s a lot of stair climbing!

The view from the top of the trail made it worth the climb.

The view from the top of the trail made it worth the climb.

We very much enjoyed our week at McPhee Reservoir, which included several happy hour gatherings with fellow campers (I didn’t get any still photos, as I was busy taking video of our entertaining group).

McPhee Reservoir

McPhee Reservoir

We are now settled in for a much anticipated month in Bayfield (near Durango) with a full calendar of events to enjoy.  So …. Cheers!!

11 thoughts on “Colorado – Canyon of the Ancients & Mesa Verde National Park

  1. Linda…..the Green River 20 years ago? If I remember correctly Tim and I went with you and Dad on that trip after you guys went alone. I wasn’t in my 20’s when we went on that trip. I think I was 16 because I was driving. So that trip was probably 25+ years ago you and Dad canoed the Green River.

    Great post and great pictures. Really, really looking forward to the houseboat trip. In fact Brady is so excited he literally cannot stop talking about it.

    • Hahaha! I didn’t do the math on that Green River trip. You’re right, it was more like 25 years ago. How time flies! See you all soon. We’re all excited for the upcoming family vacation!

  2. I enjoyed seeing Mesa Verde in your pictures! Brings back so many fond memories from a long ago family vacation. Thank You for the memories.
    Beautiful pictures!

    • I also got a big laugh out of Mike’s Indian name for you! I. was wondering if any of the sites you see are accessible by car. I am “girl who does not hike.”

      • Oh yes, Dawn. We toured many of the ruins on driving loops at Mesa Verde and Canyons of the Ancients. Hiking is optional. The drives are beautiful!

  3. You’re about an hour away from us. Let us know if you come south to check out the mistakenly named Aztec Ruins…we could meet if interested. Oh…last time we were at Mesa Verde we saw a bear crossing the road.

  4. Our kind of hiking! Can’t wait to get the opportunity to spend months exploring Colorado. Thanks for sharing these neat hikes. I had to laugh, also, with your new name, Linda!

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