Great American Road Trip – Day 4

IMG_4443Route: Durango, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah
Miles Driven: 455
Lodging: La Quinta Inn, Salt Lake City
Best Eats: Car picnic lunch from Trader Joe’s
Heard on the Radio: Audiobook – In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
Miles Run: 4.5 (Durango, Colorado)

America the Beautiful.

These three words just about sum up our day. Rather than attempting to describe what I mean, I offer you the following photos, all taken today.

Regrettably, we didn’t take photos of the scenery in Durango. This morning we ran along the Animas River, which offered beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

Our first stop after leaving Durango was in Mesa Verde National Park, in the far southwest corner of Colorado.

Mesa Verde

M. stands at the entrance to Mesa Verde.

Thes Cliff Palace Dwellings (below) were home to the Ancestral Pueblo people for nearly 700 years. In total, there are 600 such cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. Seeing the dwellings up close requires a guided tour, which we weren’t able to take because of our time constraints and because pets were not allowed on the trail. M. and I took turns staying with Frieda and walking to look at the cliff dwellings.

Mesa Verde Dwellings
We crossed the border into Utah about an hour after leaving Mesa Verde National Park. We had purchased an annual national park pass at Mesa Verde, so we decided to make our way to Arches National Park, just north of Moab, Utah. The scenery along the way was spectacular, especially with the storms that we passed through.

Utah

Entering beautiful Utah!

Utah

Rain off in the distance over the Utah flat lands. This was the first of many storms we passed through today.

Red Cliffs

Dark skies over red cliffs.

Wilson Arch

Wilson Arch, on the way to Arches National Park, Utah.

We wished we had had more time to spend at Arches National Park. Today, we could only stop long enough to take in a bit of the scenery near the park’s entrance. Also, the park has some heavy restrictions on pets, which of course limited what we could see. Still, a stop well worth it.
Arches National Park
Arches 1

Breathtaking scenery at Park Avenue, Arches National Park. These rock formations earned their name because of their resemblance to skyscrapers with an “avenue” running down the middle.

Arches 2

M. and Frieda near Park Avenue in Arches National Park.

Arches 4

At the La Sal Mountains Overlook, Arches National Park, Utah.

Arches 3

Frieda’s paws turned red from all of the clay.

Arches 5

From Arches, we decided we should probably get a move on to Salt Lake City if we were going to make it by a reasonable hour. We arrived in Salt Lake by about 9:00 pm, where we are resting and preparing for another long day tomorrow as we continue our journey north.
Tonight, we are reminded of the beautiful country that we are so fortunate to be able to call home.
Thank you for reading!

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