Mesa Verde National Park – Friday & Saturday (and an update on Woody)

Woody’s growing pains

On Thursday, in Holbrook, while trying to fix Woody’s awning (a small bolt busted on it sometime in March) somehow his rear jack stabilizer motor died and that’s when we I decided that we wouldn’t try to fix anything cosmetic on Woody again until we got back to NC! If it’s not a need – it’s not being touched haha. These growing pains are to be expected. Is anything really loved if it doesn’t have some marks and blemishes? 😊.

(FYI the rear jack stabilizers are Woodys “crutches” (?) that you put down when you’re parked to help stabilize things when you’re living in him. When our motor died they were still in the down position so that was terrible because we couldn’t drive him anywhere like that.)

So as we were trying to clean out the motor to get it going again, I was praying so hard there wasn’t a “snake in Woodys boot” that caused the motor to die….

then the Lord sent a nice man to walk by us and have mercy on the Rookies. He problem-solved with us but with no success …so he instead helped us disassemble everything enough where we could then manually crank up or down the stabilizers when we need to. (Fun connections: he was from TN and has a niece that lives in Wilmington at Verizon where I used to work!)

Sadly our dealer didn’t give us a manual crank like they were supposed to so we had to walk around looking for s’more helpful campers. And I must say, in general, campers are the most helpful and kind people! We found some nice southern ladies who had a crank and all was well. (Then we bought one at an RV dealer when we got to Colorado).

Thank you for all the prayers that everybody was lifting up after my Instagram post about Woody’s crutches! Almost being stuck in the middle of nowhere (where help would be a long time coming) has a way of making you even more thankful for anything ever going right and easy! When we finally escaped left Holbrook I was so grateful and l really felt reminded that ANY place we get to is a gift and any day on this adventure where things are going relatively easy is truly a blessing. I won’t take it for granted and I am so happy and thankful. It also reminded me to hold all my plans even more loosely than I was and really practice more more more to trust the Lord and that He knows best. B also reminded me that if we are delayed – I am not alone! We’re together which is what it’s all about anyways. Oops I think I forgot that on Friday. I felt so faithful and peaceful Thursday but honestly I was anxious and scared Friday as we left wondering what else may go wrong. Clearly it’s a lifetime journey to have the trust He desires in us. As we walked around the park in Holbrook waiting for B to wrap up work, we stopped and smelled the roses and got a treat and I felt my whole attitude shift. Amazing! Thank you Lord!


Now on to the fun stuff! This is my fave state sign so far!

Our first Colorado stop was Mesa Verde National Park. We stayed there Friday and Saturday night. It was the first time we camped IN a national park and we loved it!

Look at the girls “ohhh”ing over the snow capped mountains and view from up high:

Here’s our camp spot. Mr B backed in Woody like a pro! I was so impressed. It was a tight back in from a tight, one-lane road and we were on a hill. Who is a Rookie!? 😊

On Friday night we went to the Ranger program in the campground with a Ranger who has been with the national park service 50 years! He did a great chat on the history of the national parks. Saturday morning I loved seeing B enjoying his quiet time outside.

To tour the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde you need to buy tickets. We were so fortunate we got in just in time on Friday night to book both Cliff Palace and Balcony House tours for Saturday morning! First up was Cliff Palace and I was so excited! RR and I first read about Cliff Palace in his America the Beautiful curriculum. We really bonded over that curriculum by Notgrass and as soon as we read about the dwellings, I started a note in my phone called “places we’ve learned about in homeschooling that we want to go visit” and that was first on the list! Wow I am amazed at how the Lord answered that request. This is so special! It was even more amazing in person than I pictured.

Isn’t it beautiful? This is 800+ years old. All those wood beams?

Those are the original 800+ year old wood. In fact, most of what you can see is the original. Pretty high quality huh!?

A group of 100 or so ancestral Puebloans lived here at one time. Isn’t there such a beauty and order to it even though they of course didn’t sit down with paper and pen and draw it out? It was added on to here and there as needed. It’s truly remarkable.

Most of the actual “rooms” (more than 100 rooms were here when it was fully formed) are not used as we would guess, but were for storage. The families spent much of their time in their particular family Kiva.

The design of these is incredible too. I liked how they explained different parts of it. Like the hole that acts as a vent bringing cooler air from outside for the fire. Then the “diverter” which was that little ” wall” placed on the ground where the air comes in so the fire wouldn’t have too much air blowing directly on it (so there wouldn’t be ash everywhere). The kiva would have a roof and then a hole in the center where the ladder is placed above the fire. It must be true what they say…. natives like small fires. “Only white men like big fires. Big fire. Stand far away. Burn face. Freeze hineys.” 😊

The kids loved the tunnels and ladders and just were itching so bad to play hide and seek.

After a quick picnic lunch we were off to Balcony House! Here’s the balcony on the 2nd story of one section that gave it its name.

This tour was super fun for the kids as they got to climb a huge ladder, crawl through a tunnel, and really walk on the sheer side of a cliff (thanks to chains and cut out steps)! I hurt my hiney/hamstring getting out of the tunnel and it was killing B’s knee to climb through. When did we get old ?

I keep repeating this but it’s true…. we have so much to learn from the natives. I pray we can learn more and dig in deeper to many of the things we are hearing and reading. On our tours this time the 2 lessons that stood out were how beautiful and strong their sense of community was. Could any group of 100 modern Americans build a dwelling like this together…. much less live in it together!? Or even have the desire to? And again of course is the repeated lesson of how well they used their natural resources.

After our tours, we enjoyed all the viewpoints on the way back to camp.

I was feeling SO refreshed and rejuvenated and I really think it was because how GREEN everything was! We haven’t seen green like this in so long and it was truly soothing to the eyes! They said that it’s never this green and just like the super bloom we have been seeing everywhere else – the weather this year caused a super beautiful spring! I was enjoying this so much. The bright green, contrasted to the blue skies, and then the snow capped mountains. I loved it!

I was not only feeling high on life and energy but just high in general. The altitude I mean! We officially hit the highest point we’ve touched yet!

For reference – Mt Mitchell in NC is the highest point east of the Mississippi and it is 6,683 above sea level! Here we are at 8572 feet and my brain was feeling it haha.

Back at camp, E & RR worked on the campground scavenger hunt and AB got to enjoy the local mule deer!

RR loves a good scavenger hunt! 😊 That kept them entertained all afternoon and then when they finished they got to choose a prize and also get their Junior Ranger Badges for the park! I am pretty sure this is number 15 but there’s an ongoing debate about that! We will organize them this weekend.

I still had energy after dinner (wow this mountain air is amazing!) so RR and I walked the Knife Edge Trail that starts in the campground. Look at the sweet deer on the way:

It was such a great hike! It was an easy climb and quiet and so beautiful!

It was amazing and RR even found a fossil! See the shell on the top left of the rock?

I loved listening to RR’s chattering as we walked. I’m so glad he decided to come with me. I was going to go by myself but his protective nature couldn’t allow Mommy to hike alone 😊. He did accidentally kick a rock under my feet as he was telling a story about a spider and it made me jump a mile and hurt my already-sore hiney haha. But he also protected me from a baby snake we saw and the dive-bombing clicking beetles that for some reason like my face.

Our bond is stronger than ever and I just love this special kid so much. What an amazing heart he has. And he’s truly gifted in so many ways. He’s gonna be such a good man.

It was such a great 2 days!

We ended Saturday night with a fire, charades, and skits by the hilarious kiddos.

Another “favorite weekend ever” – weekend 😊 .

The Lord did certainly keep us refreshed and nourished in our dry desert weeks…. even in Holbrook when I had my panicky moment as I thought “ahh how long will we be stuck here!?” ….. but this weekend at Mesa Verde was such a rejuvenating and refreshing few days.

I think the desert experiences make the mountain tops so much sweeter and amazing!

8 thoughts on “Mesa Verde National Park – Friday & Saturday (and an update on Woody)

  1. Okay, first of all, I think R is 40 years old and a pastor-in-waiting. Secondly, what God is teaching you and Mr. b to give the children is phenomenal..all because you are so open to his guidance. And each photo of the children is more radiant than the last. So much love for you all!!

  2. Wendy L. Hemphill

    WOW !!
    Such a sweet time after moments of stress. I am still learning how to handle broken things. God has it. He helps us in so many ways with so many special people.
    Such a big beautiful nation with countless great people. Won’t hear that on the news. πŸ™„

  3. I can only imagine that β€œstuck” feeling. I’m thrilled that Woody was able to make it to the next destination safely! Hallelujah! God can do anything! I’m looking forward to seeing Colorado someday… 😊

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