Monuments vs. Parks

This past Sunday we went to Mesa Verde National Park.

All I can say it “Wow!”

But not the good “wow”; the surprised “wow”.  And I’m not talking about the scenery.

The parking lot at the visitors center was practically full.  Meaning everyone was inside.  Either souvenir shopping, telling the kids “No, you don’t need that” or waiting in line hoping to get tickets for one of the many tours that leave every 30 minutes.  Sold out. *Groan*

Then car after car of slow moving (25 in a 45mph) tourists most likely arguing about not getting that tour they wanted and/or the cost of the tour.

When we finally got up Mesa Verde, I got to watch all the people.  And “people watch” I did.  I swear it’s better than an airport.  From “One-button-guy“- the guy that only needs to use 1 of his 9 buttons on his shirt and his wife “Boobs McGee”- bright orange, super tight sweater.  There were also the 2 older ladies with their big hair, manicured nails, giant gold necklaces, wedge sandals, and carrying their little dogs after they let them pee on the sidewalk.  Have I mentioned we’re in the Southwest? It’s mostly dirt and these ladies couldn’t just move the dog off of the one sidewalk!  Of course, lets not forget the whining/crying children with the over-perfumers for parents.  That kids not tired or hungry, he just can’t breathe because his air passages are on fire! (I have bad reactions to perfumes) Seriously, all you scented folk. Ease up.  You’re outside.  The birds don’t give a crap what you’re wearing.

Ohhh, the people!

Everyone shooting with their iPhone, Android, Full Size Tablets, etc…  Yep.  Full size tablet.  I couldn’t believe it either.  Shoulder to shoulder.  All of them like lemmings for the same photo.  Then the tour groups gather together and they get shuffled down some stairs to the main viewing area.  Hardly anyone carrying water because, hey it’s only 8000 feet above sea level. *Shakes head*.  If they’re lucky, {read with sarcasm} they’ll get at least 10-15 minutes of shooting in.  If you don’t mind having heads in your photos, then you’d have no problem here.

Tour group with one on the way down

Tour group getting toured with another group on the way down.

Then we went to Hovenweep National Monument. *Note this is not a Nat’l Park*  I “Wowed” again.  But this time it wasn’t because of the people or the parking situation.  Well it was, but it wasn’t.  You see, Hovenweep had a whopping 14 cars in the parking lot.  I saw a handful of the visitors.

Why?  Because there’s so much to do.  You can walk the entire loop around and through the little canyon.  Ancient Indian ruins lining the rim and inside of the canyon.  Self guided, no hurry, you get to keep your own pace.

One of the many ruins that can be found here.

One of the many ruins that can be found here.

There’s a 4 mile trail that you can hike taking you to another set of ruins called the Holly Group.  Another place where I saw no one and yet there was so much to see.  I couldn’t believe we were the only people there.  With all the people at the National Park, I was sure we would’ve seen some of them trickle down to the less crowded National Monument.  Nope.  Not a soul. We had the place to ourselves.

Holly Group of Hovenweep National Monument

Holly Group of the Hovenweep National Monument

How many people do you think know about these beautiful places?  Do you know about them?  Do you know there are 109 National Monuments in the U.S.?  44 of those are located in the four-corners region (AZ, NM, CO, UT).

There’s a great Kickstarter happening right now.  There’s only 12 days left to reach the goal.  This Kickstarter is for the RVer’s Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest.  Click the link and check out a free downloadable sample chapter of the Hovenweep National Monument.

We all know where the National Parks are.  We barely know where the National Monuments lie.  They’re usually in between all the pricey parks.  You can find them on a side road, down a dirt road, and occasionally down a desert sand dune-like road.  They are the little brown or green signs you drive by all the time.

Get on board with this Guide book.  There are incentives, from postcards and prints, to E-books and a hardcover photography book.  Maybe you want to go on a photography trip in/around Page, AZ.  That’s an option too.

Get your copy of the RVer’s Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest.


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