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A Hike Into Mug House

Hiking into the Mesa Verde ruins


View Fall trip 2018 & Summer Trip 3 on Miss Chris's travel map.

With the cooking class over it was time to move on to Mesa Verde.

In 2006 my dad, who was still with us, told me about 2 hikes that had opened up, one being to Mug House. We’d planned a grandkids trip with our 6,8,9 and 10-year old grandkids to the southwest so Mesa Verde was on the way. We bought tickets for the hikes and on we went. Unfortunately, I was using a small point and shoot and the camera card crashed after our trip so any photos, good or bad, were lost.

Several weeks ago, we were in Great Basin on a grandkids trip when I ran into retired rangers. As we were talking they mentioned that the trip to Mug House had just opened for tours but was only taking a few people down and it wouldn’t last long. I immediately got online and found that it was open for tours, 10 people per tour, 3 days a week for a few weeks. We were there!

The drive to Mesa Verde was an afternoon drive, arriving in the early evening. We found a site in the campground and set up camp. We not only had reservations for a hike on Fri a.m. but an evening hike on Sunday for sunset.

The drive from the campground to the mesa, where several ruins are, takes about 45 minutes. The road follows hills and the tops of mesas. There are lookouts high on the hills that overlook the cities below.

The hike into Mug House is only open with a ranger-led hike. The hike itself is about 3 miles round trip, nearly straight down the hill, over boulders and rocks. At 7,000’ elevation, the hike back up is a scramble that will leave one breathless.
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https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/backcountry_hikes.htm

Mug House itself was amazing again. The ranger who led the hike was an archeologist so she pointed out items that we would have missed; slight differences between building bricks, residue paint inside rooms and windows used as doors.
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A small step ladder was onsite so that we could view, up close, the areas inside the ruins along the wall. We could note the designs still visible around the bottom of the kiva.
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I was able to hang behind and shoot lots of photos while communing with the ancient ones.

Posted by Miss Chris 08:07 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde camping national_park glamping rv_travel mug_house Comments (0)

We Are On Our Own In Santa Fe

A trip without grandkids

semi-overcast 75 °F
View Summer Trip 3 on Miss Chris's travel map.

We only had 4 days at home, only a short time to empty the very dirty clothes and bedding, wash about 30 loads of laundry, clean the RV and repack. This time we had to pack for only Dale and me to vacation and work if we get a call out.

As usual, we had breakdowns that had to be repaired. The water pump completely quit and that took all morning and most of an afternoon. No cleaning could be done as there was no water. But Dale fixed the pump and the water output is better than ever.

We believed that we had tickets for the Santa Fe Opera so wanted to be in Santa Fe on Sunday in time for dinner, well before the opera. We wanted to leave on Sat and were able to get away in the heat of the afternoon. We didn’t care, we were on our way.
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As we neared Santa Fe I looked up RV parks. We realized that we’d never camped in Santa Fe before, we’d always gone straight to Taos. I found an RV park with good reviews so called and found that they had space for us. The Santa Fe Skies had a site on the ridge overlooking the city on 3 sides of our RV. We were amazed at our luck.

Our luck did not hold for long. I searched for the confirmation that our Opera tickets had been changed. I’d called back in May when we realized we couldn’t make the night that we held tickets for. There was no confirmation email. But, I did find an email from a dear friend asking that we attend his retirement dinner that had taken place only days before. I cannot even convey had upset I was at this point.

On Monday morning, I called the opera and found, to my dismay, that the tickets were not changed, rather went unused on the night that we could not make it to Santa Fe.
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Finally, if this is the worst that can happen on this trip we will call it a good trip. After all, how many people can visit a beautiful city, glamp with a fabulous view, and be together as we are; healthy and happy. We will not complain but rather put this one thing behind us.

Posted by Miss Chris 19:20 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip camping new_mexico glamping santa_fe rv_travel santa_fe_skies Comments (0)

The Great Mouse Adventure

Not the Mickey Mouse kind

sunny 70 °F

Alas, it was time to press on to the next leg, Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. We didn’t know what to expect, except that there was a pool fed by a warm spring and camping was free.

We started on our way, spending the night outside a town about 2 hours away. We found a parking lot next to a grocery store with a couple of other RV’ers already parked there.

The following morning we finally had some internet and I saw that I had to renew my Texas Adjuster License that very day. This involves obtaining CE’s which I didn’t have enough of. Yikes, I had to spend the day doing the classes. We couldn’t go on to the Refuge as there would be no internet or service there. Instead, we found a camping spot in an RV park, the town closest to the Refuge.

Well, this turned into a real adventure. The Mouse Adventure!

We woke up in the morning to find mouse droppings on the kitchen counter and then found some on the floor. YIKES!!! Now for those of you who know me know that I totally lose it with mice.

When we got to Sheldon we started looking and found mouse droppings in the cooktop as well. I guessed that the mouse was hiding out in the wall behind the cooktop.
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Now, we did have a mouse try to travel with us another time. We were in Mesa Verde with the 4 older grandkids. We’d washed dishes but didn’t drain the water that night. I got up early but there was a mouse in the sink water. I let out a scream, ran back to our bed in the rear of the RV, climbed into the bed and covered my head with the blanket. Our granddaughter had to get the mouse out of the sink and throw it out.

Dale set up mouse traps, one in the cooktop, one on the counter, the rest in different places on the floor. We started to settle down for the night when the traps started going off. First, the one in the cooktop went off. We went to look and I saw another mouse trapped on the floor, then we saw one trapped by the door. Kids threw the mice, trap and all into the fire pit still burning.

Dale set up another trap in the cooktop and low and behold, another one was trapped. We couldn’t believe that 4 mice had gotten in. It was like an entire family had wanted to move and thought that we would transport them to a better place. Well, we did transport them to another place, in another world!

The kids laughed later and I overheard one saying: “did you see grandma? Grandpa started to put the mouse in her face and she started yelling in a funny voice to get it out”? They thought that it was great fun! We must have been quite a sight, me yelling for Dale to get it out, some kids yelling that they wanted to see it, others yelling that they wanted to hold it. We had total pandemonium.

The next morning we woke up to no mouse droppings. I cleaned everything with disinfectant, not leaving anything to chance.

Posted by Miss Chris 11:05 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature travel camping grandkids rv_travel sheldon_national_wildlife_refug Comments (0)

A Cave Walk

Walking thru Lehman Cave in Great Basin

We had to get up earlier than we had been and made sure we all ate a good breakfast. We had a Cave Walk to attend.

There are several caves in the Great Basin National Park and 2 have ranger-led walks. One a 1-1/2 hour walk is more difficult and children under 5 are not allowed. As our youngest is only 4 we had to opt for the 1-hour walk which accepts people of any age.

The cave walk meets up at the Lehman Visitor Center. Lehman is the person who discovered the caves and capitalized on that discovery.
The grandkids were really excited as they have been in Lava Tubes but not a cave.

https://www.nps.gov/grba/planyourvisit/lehman-caves-tours.htm
After entering the cave we passed by the original opening. Wood stairs were built for people to access. Now there is a paved entry under the original opening and the entire path thru the cave is lit.
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After entering the 1st main room, the ranger turns out all of the lights. Lucian immediately said, “Oh, it is dark”. And dark it is, you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. The walk goes thru several rooms, one so narrow that by sticking your elbows out you'd touch the walls.
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Fortunately, all of us had no fear of being underground, although Dale admitted that the thought passed his mind that it was not a good time for an earthquake.

This is a must see for anyone going into Great Basin!

Posted by Miss Chris 11:41 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature camping grandkids rv_travel great_basin_national_park lehman_cave Comments (0)

A Hike in Great Basin with Kids

Short hike

sunny 75 °F

Like all of our National Park visits, this one started at the Visitor’s Center, picking up Jr. Ranger booklets and learning about the park. Kids had looked at the displays and we all watched the film. The Ranger gave us good info on some hikes that would be easy but nice. The Ranger also gave us some info on nearby cave tours, but we’d need to get tickets online.

We got up late but we needed to go where we had enough internet service to get tickets for the caves. We had to go back to the Visitor’s Center to finally have enough service. After driving back to the RV to get our Senior Pass info necessary to purchase the tickets, and picking up firewood, we were finally ready to hike.
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There was a short trail, .6 miles, up to the upper campground, that started close to our campsite. We decided to take that trail instead of one further away.IMG_201706..3709581_HDR.jpg

The trail runs along the stream and is an easy walk thru the woods. The trail ends up at a day use area where kids can climb and run. Kids took turns holding their hands in the ice cold stream with me timing them to see who could hold their hand in the longest. A good lesson on how cold the water can be.
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This 1.2-mile r/t trail took about 3 hours to walk, a great afternoon activity.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:24 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature hiking camping grandkids rv_travel great_basin_national_park Comments (0)

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