Before heading to Mesa Verde today we drove west to see Shiprock (mom keeps calling it Shipwreck). We first saw it while still 40 miles away but we could actually make it out from a high point in Mesa Verde about 80 miles away. Photographs show it was visible for at least 150 miles away in the 1800’s and was a huge landmark for wagons heading west. Due to air pollution, sadly, visibility is now reduced to probably half. Nevertheless it is absolutely awesome to see from the Navajo reservation. For the Navajo, Hopi, Ute and Zuni’s it is spiritually very significant. Then on to Mesa Verde which was one of the things we’ve always wanted to see for years. We passed from the Navajo reservation into the Ute reservation and northward into Colorado. More spectacular scenery all the way to Cortez CO and over to the national park. We alloted a full day for it but you could stay for a week and not see all of it. There are about 60 cliff dwellings in the park and 4600 archeological sites. We took the guided tour to Cliff house, one of the best, and it was awesome. We also saw Spruce Tree house, the museum etc. It took all day and we still only visited the East side of the park. Wow. Constructed about 1200 AD with work going on for about 100 years and then abandoned, the reason for which is not entirely clear. Always been interested in Anasazi culture and picked up some great books from the resource center. Today’s Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, and Utes are descended from the people who built these sites. Afterward we headed over to Durango for a little taste of what lies ahead tomorrow and from what we saw mom will be in seventh heaven. More tomorrow. I also scoped out some sites on the Animas River to fish a little while mom window shops. We’ll see how that works out. The photo is from the overlook to Cliff House while we were waiting for our Ranger to guide us and the other is about the best shot I could get from the roadside with a huge hill in between us and the rock which blocks about the lower 1/3 of it. Got to Wikepedia and you can see a really good shot of it.