Off the Ground

Though it takes a lot of power 
To make a bog tree grow. 
It doesn’t need a pot of knowledge. 
For a seed knows what a seed must know.

Paul McCartney

Yet another 5 star day in SW Colorado. It’s just after nine now and we’re all settled into our tents. The last 15 minutes where a chaotic frenzy of meeting new neighbors, getting ready for bed, and swatting the barrage of mosquitos that suddenly appeared. The rest of the day was much more slowly paced, and unquestionably less itchy.

We started the day with a relaxed morning at the Holiday Inn in Cortez. It was a beautiful morning so we sat outside drinking coffee, writing yesterday’s blogs, and having a lesiurely breakfast. We got in what could conceivably be the last load of laundry for the trip and reorganized Fred for what might be the last time.

Our first plan for the day was to get in a good long hike at CO Home. We wanted to explore the terrain, discover and identify and plants and animals we could, scout possible building sites, and maybe, if we were really lucky find a hint of Puebloan activity. Almost unbelievably we achieved all those things and more.

Nearly as soon as we started the walk I spotted some movement on the ground that looked vaguely froglike. I took a few more steps, saw it again, and this time spotted this guy crawling along the ground:

After a bit of research I think it’s probably a greater short horned lizard, but it anyone more knowledge than me know better please let me know.

We noticed a lot of diversity in plants as we walked through different parts. Of course it’s mostly pinon, juniper, sage, and oak. Sometimes though the oak is so thick it can’t be crossed, sometimes there’s large treeless areas that are full of flowers. Sometimes massive yucca plants seem to be taking over. There’s also a lot of dead wood from the pines that were killed by the pine beetle that went through the area 20 or so years ago. That’s going to be a big project for us down the line.

The entire time we were walking we had our eyes out for artifacts from the Puebloans who were undoubtedly in this area. At the bottom of the layer of rock that is exposed halfway down the land we found some animal bone, and as we were searching for more we also came across a half dozen pottery sherds. How exciting to know that people were living right here over 1,000 years ago!

By this time it was pushing 2:00 and in the mid 90s so we packed up and headed to Dolores for lunch. We discovered another great Mexican restaurant, the best part of which was that on Mondays they serve $3.75 margaritas. They also make a great green chilie sauce.

We spent some time tasting beer and playing games at the Mancos Brewery and topped off the day with ice cream at Moose and More. As we got back home our next door neighbors were coming home from a walk so we got to meet them breifly, but the mosquitoes chased us into our tents pretty quickly.

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