Holidays in Hovenweep

There are some places where we never tire of seeing. Places that reveal something different each time we go. And take on a different aspect in every season.

One such place?  Hovenweep and the adjacent Canyons of the Ancients national monuments on the Utah/Colorado border.  Joan and I have both visited there in the past, but never together. And for the Christmas holiday, we decided that re-visiting this place not far from home will make a worthy winter destination.

The campground is perhaps our favorite established campground, makes an excellent location for exploring the local area, and provides plenty to do without driving for at least a day or two.

And that golden winter light adds that much more to see this area.

We had the campground to ourselves for two days and enjoyed the near solitude.

The ravens have always been there. And always will be there.

Some cold-weather gear (and the luxury of a heated bathroom!) let us enjoy the temperatures in relative comfort.

My beater down coat, a Montbell down balaclava, and the surplus Primaloft cold-weather pants. Worn while enjoying a view of Sleeping Ute from the tailgate. PCO Joan.

Another PCO Joan that she snapped in one of our -15F sleeping bags.

But the best part of our campsite meant looking at the sky on Christmas evening and seeing the so-called Christmas star in the night sky.  The last night where the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter would appear so close. And a brilliant sight in the winter sky.

No great photo. But here’s a screenshot from the Sky Map star app.   Don’t forget to calibrate your phone for accurate results!

On our way home, we did some last hikes. Places where I’ve been but Joan has not necessarily seen in some cases. There are places off the beaten path in this area I want to see again, but we’ll wait until there is no snow on the ground.

And, as always, the familiar places never fail to delight.

We enjoyed one last overlook that took in the land. We could see the San Juans, the La Sal Mountains, and the Abajos.  And many other places that’s part of Four Corners and the nearby world. Then and now.  And on the distance with the overcast sun? The always impressive Shiprock (Raven’s Wing).

We made our way home and again grateful for these areas so close and so memorable.

Interesting note: This area has long been know for its corn, beans, and squash.. The nearby Lowery Pueblo’s location is still primarily an agricultural area. Not far away, and fewer than twenty miles from the CO/UT border is the small hamlet of Dove Creek. Dove Creek is well-known for the beans they sell. Including varieties of beans very similar to ones produced in the regions going back to Hovenweep. And in the campground that evening, we reheated a dish made at home with some of the beans from the area along with corn, rice, green chile’, pork, etc.  Both a perfect and place appropriate meal on a cold winter night.


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