on the road to Mesa Verde
Sep 19, 2009
|Saturday saw us leave Bullfrog and head to Mesa Verde. We decided to take the ferry across the lake which is the continuation of Utah highway 276. While waiting for the ferry Russ and Mark wandered around the area and stumbled on a coyote that appeared to have a den between the ferry landing and the marina. Mark got a couple of shaky pictures from the wrong camera setup, but what can you do in a pinch?
The ferry trip is a short 30 minute ride that was quite enjoyable. Captain Dave came down on deck and filled us in on some of the local tidbits.
According to the captain tourism just dries up after the first of October and the local establishments are always in a quandary about what to do – most are planning to shut down on October 19th this year. He says that the month of November is just beautiful on the lake and more people should take advantage. This year definitely was a down year for tourist dollars. While he didn’t see much of a drop in the number of boats on the water he says that most of the users brought their own boats and didn’t spend at the restaurant and stores like usual. They expect next year to be down as well with a rebound in 2011.
Of local interest is that the school for the area is located on the Bullfrog side of the lake and the kids that live on the Halls Crossing side have to take the ferry to and from each day. After the 19th of October they are thinking of using a houseboat to shuttle the kids to the K-12 school instead of the large ferry.
On the way to our next stop we decided to visit the Natural Bridges Monument . This park consists of 3 large bridge formations that you can view from the overlooks or walk down to get a close look. Bridges differ from arches in the way they are formed. Bridges are created from flowing water while arches are created from erosion – other than that they look alike.
Arriving at Mesa Verde we had lodging at the Far View Lodge at the top of the mountain. The elevation here is 8210 feet and you can tell you are on top of the world. The lodge accommodations are wonderful with views of the surrounding countryside. We were especially treated by wildlife viewing from our balconies.
First we spied a herd of 8 wild horses on the far ridge. While looking at them Russ spotted a large bull elk on the same ridge. While showing us where to look for it, Mark spotted what he thought was the bull until Russ told him it was not. Kathy saw what she thought was the bull until Russ told her she was wrong. As it turned out there were two bulls and two females wandering in the same area. It was fascinating to hear them call to each other as they became separated. This went on for over an hour. (just to prove it was there!
The next surprise came when a bull mule deer wandered up to our balcony and started grazing right below us. Those pictures are pretty cool.
Tomorrow we tour the ruins at Mesa Verde – can’t wait.