A cold spring in the high desert

With how we structured our day jobs, Joan and I can get out at a reasonable time on many Thursdays, find a place to camp, and spend three nights somewhere remote feeling, stunning, and not far from our home.

Such a moment presented itself this past weekend when we went car camping, did some volunteer work, and used our tucked-away camp as a base to wander the canyon and see places both familiar and new to us.

Sunset at our camp. We packed fresh food and two coolers and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. PCO Joan.

Though the spring was cold and wet overall, signs of spring greeted us as we made our way into the canyon.

An old path is now familiar to us, and we are always delighted to see the images and archeological indications of the eons’ past.

With the fierce winds bringing a chill to the air, we found ourselves grateful to be hiking below the rim and in the shelter of the canyon.

Slicks and a brown haze from the blowing wind and sand.

We climbed out of the canyon, made our way to our campsite, and used a whisk and dustpan to clear the tent of what seemed half the Colorado Plateau’s sand in our tent.

The following day, we purposefully set out to see what we could see with more hunches based on past experiences.

We walked along, scoped out what looked intriguing, and then went to what caught our eye from the distance.

We find sites new to us by scoping out sites from high points with binoculars.

We’ll see places not in guidebooks and continue to prove that canyon country will continue to contain places new to us no matter how many times we revisit the nooks and crannies of each line on the topo maps.

After a full day of hiking, we returned to our camp. NOAA predicted temperatures nearly 20 degrees below normal and issued a freeze warning. With our sleep system, hot drinks, and trusty shelter, we slept well despite the unseasonably chillier temps and blowing wind.

Sunset from our campsite.

Our system for cold weather camping – Joan goes into the tent, I heat up hot water and make a warming drink, and a mysterious hand comes out of the tent fly, grabs the mug, and vanishes into the tent. 🙂

Shortly after sunrise, we heard a parade of vehicles rumble on the adjacent road. I suspect others did not find the night quite as cozy as we did.

After our morning repast, we made our way to another intriguing place. Some cross-country hiking with map and compass work brought us to an overlook where we could better view a place that is not wholly accessible today.

Some sherds on our chosen path confirmed we found a logical way to access the viewpoint both now and in the past.

We found a break in the canyon rim and worked to a level just below with images, structures, and a view of what intrigued us earlier.

We spotted what we sought: an intriguing potential kiva structure and a panel that seemed archaeoastronomical. I have neither the education nor the cultural tradition to make more than a guess at the panel’s nature, but I certainly can appreciate the imagery.

We continued our below-rim walking and marveled at the number of structures and the potential number of people who lived here in the past.

Another weekend for us that is not much different than how we spend most of our other time. But that’s why we live here and get reminded of each trip we take in this place we call home.

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