Day 46: Mancos, Dolores, Cortez

If you’re wondering where in Colorado we are, find those three towns on a map and we’re right in the middle of the triangle they make. That’s our little slice of perfection.

It had been nice to sleep in a bed and I used the shower more times than one. Once we were all cleaned and well rested, we headed right back to home. We then did what we’ve been dreaming of doing for months…explore. We zigzagged back and forth discovering all these new areas. We found a whole little oak grove, an area of these tall flowers that I’ve never seen before and were really only concentrated in that spot. The ground was alive. Literally. Acres are covered with biological soil crust. And we hopped from downed tree to rock to plant to avoid busting the crust. We came across dozens of parts of bones and some full ones, bleached by the sun, bones of animals who lost a battle long ago. Most excitedly, at least for us, we found several pieces of pottery sherds. We knew we would at some point. 1,000 years ago the area was three times as populated it is now and there was a bustling, thriving community. It was still magical to find. It dawned on me that the last fingers to touch these pieces were those of people living in such a different time, but with the same goals and intentions. There was a connection and a feeling of responsibility to do what’s right. Unlike any other time, I really felt like I was standing on borrowed land. It’s ours now, but it won’t be for long in the great picture of things. It’s pretty powerful when you think about it.

Although exhilarating, it was also really hot. And burr-y. My goodness, our socks and shoes are just covered in burrs after each and every little hike. So we de-burred and went back to Dolores for a late lunch at the Montezuma Restaurant, another fabulous find, and a stop at an antique shop. We scored a book on the great lodges of the west, an official Troop 90 trapper hat for Ellie, and more pieces of pottery sherds. Why would we buy something we clearly have access to? Well, they were only a dollar each and now we can compare what we find on the lot to these. Plus I have an art display project in mind. The Anasazi Heritage Center is in Dolores, so we spent some time in the air conditioning checking out the museum and learning even more about the area. Then we headed to Mancos.

Specifically, the Mancos Brewery. This spot was out first ever stop in Mancos last year and the beer is always cold and the food is great. We played games, chatted, and ate their famous green chile mac and cheese.

We had promised the girls Moose and More ice cream, and tonight was as good of a night as any. My favorite ice cream they make, and probably in the world, is their blue corn bread and honey. With full bellies, we headed back to the property to camp. We pulled up to meet the other set of neighbors, who were so kind and gave us a good lay of the land, offering advice and a warm welcome. They informed us that the mosquitoes are never as bad as they are this year, but there was such a wet winter and spring, they are horrible now. We tried to dodge as many as we could (unsuccessfully) and scrambled into the tents.

It was a day of good food, fun exploring, and the greatest company.

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