Joys of the Southwest

The past month has found us in Cortez, Colorado.  Now that the Bozeman and Ouray Ice Festivals are over, it’s been time to refill the coffers.  I’ve taken on a project doing guiding and mountain safety for a seismic operation.  We are updating the existing maps of underground mineral and gas resources from 2d to 3d.  The purpose of our team is to make sure the workers don’t get injured in areas where extrication would be difficult, and if they do, we go in and rescue them so that the responsibility does not fall onto the community resourses.  Most days I spend hiking through canyons under big blue sunny skies. The canyons are littered with juniper trees, dakota sandstone cliff bands, and anasazi ruins.

About 800 years ago this area had a population of 300,000 anasazi residents.  The modern day residents, most White and Ute Indain only number about 30,000.  It’s fun to imagine what life might have been like then.  They certainly had some cool houses in some cool locations.

Also in this area are vast bean fields. Pinto and anasazi beans are grown on the flats of the great sage plain. The views are expansive and most days we can see the San Juan Mountains, the Abajo Mountains, the La Plata Mountains, Mesa Verde, the La Sal Mountains, and even a ghostly visage of Monument Valley.