We had a fantastic day today. We let everyone sleep in late (7:30-8:00) while I was able to get out for a run while it was cool out. When I got back, we all headed out to the pancake breakfast at the campground cafe. The kids loved it. The boys ate 5 pancakes each with loads of syrup. After that, we headed out for some hiking. We hit the trail head around 10:30 and hiked about .4 miles to the Spruce House. This is the 3rd largest cliff dwelling in the area. We were able to explore parts of it a bit, watch a few archaeologists working on some restoration and climb into a restored kiva (ceremonial room that these people used. Usually underground with beams for a ceiling. They even had ventilation built in.) It was pretty neat to get in. The kids got a kick out of it. We also saw a bull snake inside one of the kiva's you could not go in. The ranger said it was unusual to see snakes in the dwelling. After visiting this for 30 minutes or so, we continued on our hike out to the Petroglyphs. This was a 3 mile hike to some walls with carvings in them. The hike out was mostly shaded. It meandered on the side of Spruce Canyon over rocks and roots, under wall and cliff overhands and through a few 20" narrow slots. The views of the walls and canyon below were stunning. Everyone had a great time. Even Anna hiked most of the way on her own. We brought the spray water bottle/fan and by spraying her every 15 minutes or so, she kept hiking without complaining! We reached the petroglyphs around 1:00. They were pretty cool. We will try to load up some pictures tomorrow. After that, we found a shady spot with a view and at some lunch. The way back followed the rim of the canyon and thus was a bit more exposed to the sun. We had also finished 2.5 litres of water so I had to ration the last .5 litre. Lucky the rim was an easier hike and we were back at the start by 2ish. The water bottle effect finally wore off and I had to carry Anna for a few of the last stretches.
On the way back, we stopped at a cafe and had some prickly pear iced tea. The kids perused the gift shop for the 3rd or 4th time. I think they only bought a few things this time.
Then, it was off to the showers and back to camp for some quiet time and then dinner. Tomorrow we head to Durango for a 9:45 train ride to Silverton (an old mining town) and back. We have talked to 3-4 different people who have taken that ride and everyone loved it. So, we are all looking forward to it. We don't get back into Durango until 7 and so by the time we catch dinner and find our site, it will probably be too late for a post. Will do our best. I hope your Thursday is as blessed as ours!