Southwest Vacation – Part VI

For our last day in Utah, we visited the famed Four Corners site, where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado all meet. Brooke had been there before, so she kinda knew what to expect. It was a nice facility, with different vendors in booths a la a farmer’s market selling things ranging from shirts and magnets to hand-made jewelry, knives, and arrows.

There wasn’t much of a line, thankfully, so we got our obligatory pictures, did a little shopping, and then got a snack before heading out.

We knew we wanted to do something else that Thursday afternoon, and my vote was more hiking (since we really hadn’t done much….). The downside is that it was 108 F outside (the car said 113 F….eeeeeesh….), so we wanted to limit the mileage a bit.

We searched around for trails and came across one that was about a mile out toward a cave. We had to go off-roading a bit to get to this site, so that provided a little adventure, but at least it wasn’t the hours of “off the beaten path” we did a few days prior.

You can see the cave off in the distance, and we thought, “hey, that doesn’t look too far!” Turns out it would be harder than we thought!

We parked near the main road, unsure of what our options would be further down, so we left the car and walked down a road until it hit the trail. It started out fine, but it was pretty sandy and there wasn’t much shade, unfortunately. There were bits, but there were long stretches of none, which was pretty draining.

We did see some outcroppings with what looked as if they used to be dwellings, but they weren’t preserved, so there wasn’t a lot to see. Given the heat, and the fact there weren’t really trails heading toward spots like this, we mostly looked and then kept going.

By the time we got to our destination, we saw a relatively steep slick rock face heading up to the cave entrance, and given our potential for heat exhaustion, Brooke and Meg hung back to have some water in a shady spot while I proceeded to get a better look. This image is with the telephoto, so I didn’t get nearly this close, but it was enough to see that it looked pretty cool! There was a lot of vegetation between the slick rock and the cave, though….and it was very hot….so I took a few pictures and went back down. Calvin came part of the way up the hill with me, but by then, we were getting a bit concerned about his condition.

Brooke and Meg walked back and I hung out with Calvin in the shade a bit. He looked like he was overheating, so he cooled off a bit, drank some water, and when he was ready, we kept going. He was taking it a bit slower, but I don’t think it was anything really serious. It was hot and he’s small: simple as that.

That night, we had dinner and stayed up late to watch the sunset outside of town. We were hoping to see the Milky Way, but we probably would have had to wait a lot longer and none of us were really in the mood to stay up. It was nice to experience the stars away from pesky lights in town, though, and it was cool to be in the middle of literally nowhere!

After that, it was time to head home on Friday! We went through southern Colorado this time, so it was a different route through the Rockies. We stopped for lunch up in the mountains (Brooke made sandwiches) next to a river, which is always a lovely experience. We stopped in Garden City, KS for dinner that night at a nice Mexican restaurant, and then drove another hour-ish to Dodge City, KS for the night. Similar to our trip out west in the first place, we put in a lot of hours on that Friday so that we would get home at a reasonable time on Saturday afternoon.

In the end, we drove 3151 miles on this trip, which was a little over half what we did when we drove the Pacific Coast Highway.

We’re in an interesting “spot,” so far as our next vacation goes. Brooke and I have our 20th wedding anniversary next year, so we’ll do a trip by ourselves, but we will still need to do something with the kids (….I mean…I guess we need to??), so it may be “expensive trip” for the two of us and “shorter/cheaper trip” for the four of us. We’ll see!

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