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Lake Cowichan view from our dock.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Hovenweep National Monument

Yesterday the clouds cleared later in the morning, so Ray and I decided to take the drive to Hovenweep National Monument. As it is over an hours drive to get there we had almost crossed it off our list. We are so glad that we did not! The sun was out and it was a balmy 73 F. The drive was spectacular through the McElmo Creek Canyon with farmland and  a very windy road.

Once at the Visitor Center you have 2 choices to view the ruins. Take the trail to the right and walk 1/2 a mile along the canyon rim and then turn back around or continue on the trail to the other side of the canyon to get a different view of more ruins and complete a 2 mile round trip.

Most of these buildings in the Little Ruin Canyon, were built between 1230 AD and 1275 AD, about the same time as the Mesa Verde buildings. A lot of work for only 45 years of use. There is evidence of them farming corn, beans, squash and a grain called amaranth as well as cotton.

After walking down from the Visitor's Centre the first ruin is Stronghold House and Tower.

Continuing down the trail to the Unit Type House.

Next it was to Tower Point.  Walking down this nice path ......

 Imagine my surprise to come upon this!

Baby Rattler about 1 foot long!
 Further down the trail there was another one!

They were pretty lethargic and not wanting to move off the trail. I had mentioned to Ray several other times on previous walks that I did not think sandals were appropriate. After he almost stepped on this guy without noticing I think he will wear runners from now on! I walked in front of him after this checking the ground so he could follow behind safely. He was concentrating on camera angles and I was concentrating on NOT FINDING ANY MORE SNAKES!

Tower Point

View of Stronghold House from Tower Point

Next is the most photographed picture of Hovenweep, Hovenweep Castle.

Decision time .... Ray how's your back doing, carry on or go back? The trail is easy so let's go. Also a lot of the better pictures were taken from the far side of the canyon.

Hovenweep House

Square Tower

Square Tower with Hovenweep House on the cliff.

There were remnants of another house in the alcove behind the tower and a small dyke on the top of the ledge where the trail goes by.
Rim Rock House

Eroded Boulder House

Last but not least was the Twin Towers.

Twin Towers with Eroded Boulder House

We started out thinking we would only do the 1 mile but the ruins were so interesting and the trail pretty easy to navigate that we decided to continue on. The only downside was at the end of it you drop down into the canyon, walk through the wash and climb up the other side. Fortunately they had good stairs interspersed with sitting areas so we took it slow and steady. Well worth the workout. Ray's back was a little sore from the walk ... I was the one winded.

A little longer than Ray should have gone but this is a once in a lifetime place to see so we pushed through. Once back home he stayed reclined for the rest of the afternoon and evening working on his pictures. I walked the dog as well so he could rest. Another glorious adventure.


  1. Very cool ruins, you have to wonder what life was like back then.

  2. Another great spot to put on our to do list!