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After leaving Hovenweep National Monument we were headed toward Cortez, Colorado. We passed a number of ruins but decided not to visit them because they were off on dirt roads which we didn’t want to try in our van. We finally ended up at Lowry Pueblo. It was an interesting trip. We started out in the Great Sage Plain and ended up in farming country before moving back to the edge of the Sage Plain where we found the ruins. The two main attractions are the Great Kiva  and the Great House. The great house has been covered with a roof. The Pueblo was built about 1060 and housed up to 100 people for a century and a half. The Great House is shown below.

This is the Great Kiva.

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The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are nesting. They don’t spend much time at the feeder during the day. They arrive, get a good drink of nectar an take off. Toward evening I’ve been finding them hanging around the bushes close to the house.

This fellow had a bad itch. It spent quite some time scratching on both sides.

These are the critters I photographed around the farm this week. This White-tailed Deer doe has been hanging around in the Prairie in the morning and evening. We suspect she has a faun around but haven’t see it. We did see a doe and faun along the road but not sure it was the same one. They ran along the edged of the road in front of the car before finally heading off into the woods.

We have had a Racoon hanging around under the bird feeder. Late in the day I was photographing a rabbit when I noticed movement out in the yard and a Racoon was running toward the house. I later caught it under the bird feeder. The next evening my wife caught it looking in the screen door on the back porch. It likes to do it’s business on our back porch.

This rabbit was under the bird feeder when I first saw it.

 

We left Canyon de Chelly early in the morning and drove to Hovenweep National Monument. Neither of us can remember being to Hovenweep before. On the way we passed through more desolate country. There was a large fire taking place and we could see the smoke for miles. When we arrived at Hovenweep we could smell the smoke and the sky had a haze to it.

We decided to walk the Little Ruin Trail which was only about 1.5 miles.

I was intrigued by the fact that several of the ruins were build in a gully. I would have though they would have been washed away in a flash flood.

 

 

It’s amazing what one can find walking around in the woods and prairie.

Butterfly

Skipper

Golden-backed Snipe Fly

Common Eastern Bumble Bee

Fly

After leaving the Petrified Forest National Park we drove north to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. We arrived mid afternoon and checked into our motel before heading out on a late afternoon drive along the South Rim Drive. The South Rim Drive is best photographed in the evening. Our first stop was Tunnel Overlook.

More photos from Canyon de Chelly can be found on my website.

We took the overlooks as they came so our next stop was Tsegi Overlook. The wind was really blowing so it was difficult to stand up to take photos. I considered getting the tripod out but figured it would tip over in the wind.

We then headed to Junction Overlook.

Our final stoop of the evening was White House Overlook. This was our last stop of the day. We headed back to our hotel planning for an early start in the morning.

We were up early for breakfast before heading out on a morning tour of the North Rim Drive. The North Rim Drive is best photographed in the morning. Fortunately it was not as windy as it was yesterday. We drove out to Massacre Cave Overlook and started working our way back to town.

Mummy Cave Overlook was our next stop on the North Rim.

Our final stop was Antelope House Overlook.

We then headed back to the South Rim. There is only one hike that can be made in Canyon de Chelly without a native guide and that is the White House Trail. Our goal was to take this hike. It looked a lot worse than it was. Although it was a warm day the hiking was relatively easy. We made it down and back in a few hours with plenty of opportunities for photos.

My wife is in her usual position as close to the inside of the trail as she can get.

Our destination was the White House Ruins.

After hiking back out of the Canyon we decided to finish the South Rim Drive that we had started the day before. Our first stop was Spider Rock Overlook.

We then stopped at  Face Rock Overlook on our way back to town.

We grabbed a bite to eat at the hotel restaurant before heading out on our late afternoon Canyon tour with a native guide. Ironically I had photographed him, from the South Rim, on the tour he led before ours. We had met him earlier in the day and he had an open jeep. I thought at the time that it would be a cold ride early in the morning. When he picked us up he had switched to an enclosed jeep because his morning customers froze to death. It had been very dry this spring. Normally we would have been driving through streams this time of year or maybe not being able to get into the Canyon at all because of high water. As the sand dries out it is more difficult to drive through. People were already getting stuck in the sand.

This is another tour group using an old army surplus vehicle.

Driving through the Canyon there were many examples of petroglyphs which could be photographed up close.

In addition to the petroglyphs there were plenty of ruins that could be seen.

 

 

These are some of the wildflowers I’ve seen on the farm this week. The Ox-eyed Daises are covering the prairie.

White Clover

Wild Geranium

Ox-eyed Daisy

Virginia Waterleaf

I watched as a White-crowned Sparrow landed on my birdbath. It looked around for a while before deciding to take a bath. It really got in to bath time.

My photo of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder is featured in the Lake Superior 2019 Calendar published by Lake Superior Magazine. It shows the Alder on a winter run to break ice at Wisconsin Point Lighthouse.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

After leaving El Morro National Monument we drove to Gallup, New Mexico for the evening. We were up early the next morning heading for the Petrified Forest National Park.

More photos from our visit to Petrified National Forest can be found on my website.

We arrived a little before 8am when the park was supposed to open. However when we arrived we noticed the gate was closed and there were others waiting to get into the park. We had forgotten that the four corners area is a mess when it comes to knowing what time it is. When the park finally opened we noticed this display in the visitors center and it says it all. Arizona really creates problems for the locals and lots of missed tours and connections for the tourists.

After stopping at the Painted Desert Visitors Center we drove to the Painted Desert Inn and took some photos of the Painted Desert. The colors were spectacular.

We made a quick stop at old Route 66 which ran through the park. There is an old 1932 Studebaker and a line of telephone poles marking the spot. You can see the current freeway in the background.

We also made a quick stop at Puerco Pueblo. Not much remained only a few foundations. A short distance down the road we turned off to look at Newspaper Rock. Unfortunately it is quite a distance from the viewing stand. It was not nearly as impressive as Inscription Rock at El Morro National Monument.

We pulled over to photograph Tepee Rocks. While were photographing the rock formations this Raven walked up to the car.

I think our favorite spot in the park was Blue Mesa. There was a short walk into the formations. The blue colors made the formations unique.

After our hike at Blue Mesa we drove to Agate Bridge. This is a petrified log spanning a gully. As I recall the CCC put a cement support under the log to keep it from breaking up.

We continued on to our destination which was the Rainbow Forest Visitors Center at the southern entrance to the park. We hiked into the rainbow forest on what looked like an old park road. Apparently at one time cars could drive and park in the forest but now it is hiking only. There were large numbers of petrified logs along the trail and a small reconstructed pueblo built out of agate.

Unfortunately we were headed north so we had to backtrack through the park to the Painted Desert Visitors Center. We had a long way to go to our next destination so we didn’t make many stops on our trip back through the park. We did stop at the Painted Desert to take some photos because there was some great light on the rocks.