The forecast called for cloudy skies and even a chance of rain so instead of going somewhere that needed long views we went to Hovenweep. It is the set of the ruins of 6 Ancestral Puebloan villages.
It is about an hours drive from us and not really close to any large town or city so is not heavily visited. It will probably be put to shame by Mesa Verde when we go there, but Hovenweep suited the bill today.
Heading out of Bluff we saw the Twin Rocks over the Twin Rocks Cafe, which we have been told to visit.
Somehow I don’t think his place is in business any more.
The skies were kind of dark and threatening all morning. It made the sky very interesting for the pictures but washed away any colour there was.
The dark clouds seemed to be in a band over us. Far to the south and north it seems clearer.
We are in oil country. We saw a lot of the rocking horse pumps and a flare off in the distance.
We always have to be careful of livestock at the side of the road. We carefully drove by these killer sheep.
Not looking good weather-wise.
The largest collection of ruins are near the visitor’s center and are called Square Tower. Each village was near the end of a small canyon because this is where springs would emerge from the rocks to supply the necessary water.
After showing our annual pass to the ranger we headed out on the loop trail around the canyon.
On the far wall we see could a house made from an eroded rock.
And the Twin Towers
The square tower. They usually had a tower of some sort near the spring at the head of the canyon.
This is called Hovenweep Castle.
Here is a view of the castle from the other side of the canyon.
Notice the pile of stones in the canyon. They are what is left of the rest of the building. We commented to the ranger that all the ruins looked so small. How could anyone live in them. He said that this painting showed what they probably looked like.
The same viewpoint.
The sky started to looked very interesting and very threatening.
We never did get rained on. Looking to the west in this picture you can see the band of clouds with blue sky on either side.
And then we had sunny skies.
This is called Hovenweep House. You can’t get very close to each ruin. It would have been nice to peek inside some of them.
On to the Twin Towers. The dark skies are moving off to the south.
Back on the first side we were on, down lower, was Stronghold House. It is on a pillar that used to be joined to the canyon wall. A support log rotted way and the bridge fell down.
Then we had to head down into the canyon and back up the other side to complete the loop trail.
The Twin Towers and the Eroded Stone House from below.
Going up again we went through some tight nooks and crannies.
To us, this part of trail was almost more interesting than the ruins.
Back at the visitor’s center we watched a movie about the people that lived here.
Now that is was sunny we decided to go to one of the other villages called Holly.
To get to it you first go back to the main road and drive 4 miles farther east, across the border into Colorado.
Then you drive a little over a mile down a very rough dirt road.
There were some ledges where I was glad for the clearance of the CRV. Partway in we saw some people in a Honda Fit trying to figure out if they could go farther. They must have turned around because we did not see them again.
Once we were there I was all ready to congratulate myself for not have scraped or hit anything, when I see a Volkswagen Passat in the parking lot. I have no idea how he got in.
I don’t know why Jennie was off balance in this picture.
The Holly version of the tower at the spring.
From the other side.
The movie had said that there used to be a large building on this rock but somehow the rock tilted over and everything slid into the canyon.
The stone work is really good.
We decided that we had seen enough ruins for one day so we headed home taking a different road to make a loop.
This time it was some goats and/or sheep (I think) that made us slow down.
And back to the nice smooth main highway heading to Bluff.