SW National Parks Trip: Four Corners Monument


After a full day exploring at Mesa Verde National Park, it was time to move on and make our way to our next destination; Farmington, New Mexico.  Farmington was going to be the jumping off point for the our next day’s adventure.

As we began to drive away from Mesa Verde, it began to snow.  The flurries weren’t sticking to the road, but it let us know that we weren’t crazy because we wearing our hats and layers all day.  Once we got down to a lower elevation in Cortez, it was no longer snowing, but instead it was raining hard!  We were glad we were done touristing in the area, but also sad to be moving on.

We had one detour to make on the trip to Farmington; we were going to head West for awhile and visit the Four Corners Monument.  The monument is considered to be the legal boundary between four states; Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.  I say “considered” because the site was surveyed in the 1860s, the marker placed, and it became the legal boundary.  But it was later discovered that the surveying was a bit off.  Of course some of that has to do with the fact that the surveying methods at the time were fairly primitive.

The Four Corners Survey Marker

The Four Corners Survey Marker

In addition to it being the boundary between the states, the Four Corners is also the boundary between the Navajo Nation and the Ute Tribe.  The monument is operated by the Navajo Nation and they charge $5 per person to visit.

On the afternoon that we were there, it was still really cold, and there were very high winds.  Like hurricane force winds.  We were almost blown over by the force of the winds!

Me at the Four Corners!

Me at the Four Corners!

As a result, we didn’t hang out for long – just long enough to get some photos of ourselves with two feet and two hands in each of the states.  I told Jon before our trip even began that he would pose at the Four Corners for a photo; and he kept his word.  A couple of pics and we were done.  Even the vendors thought it was too cold to be out; there were only a couple of Navajo artisans bundled in blankets waiting for the few tourists who might venture along.

Jon Posing at the Four Corners Monument

Jon Posing at the Four Corners Monument

Back on the road, we spent some time in Arizona, and then crossed back into New Mexico.  We saw a gorgeous scene; a lone wild horse standing on the hillside.  I just had time to turn in my seat and snap a picture, and was lucky to capture this:

The Beautiful Wild Horse we saw on the Navajo Reservation

The Beautiful Wild Horse we saw on the Navajo Reservation

Then we saw what must be one of the most obvious landmarks in the Southwest: Shiprock.  Before we figured out its real name, Jon started calling it Castle Greyskull.  You can tell we both grew up in the days of He-Man cartoons!

Castle Greyskull – Also Known as Shiprock

Castle Greyskull – Also Known as Shiprock

Shiprock the rock has a Shiprock the town named after it, and sadly, this area had some of the most abject poverty I have ever seen.  Seeing run down homes, hopeless looking people, and stray dogs made my heart hurt.  It made me not want to take for granted the blessings we have received in life.

Entering New Mexico!

Entering New Mexico!

We continued from Shiprock to Farmington, New Mexico, and made good time.  We arrived and got checked into our hotel – we changed things up this time and stayed at La Quinta!  Then we continued our brewery streak and made our way to the 3 Rivers Brewery.

Several things on the menu looked really tempting, but I settled on the 1/2 order of Fish and Chips, and a Strawberry Wheat beer.  Yum!  I splurged on a second beer, in a schooner size, of their Arroyo Amber.  I really enjoyed the Amber as well, as it had a heavier, maltier flavor.

Jon had the fish special – Monkfish with cauliflower mash  and veggies, including Brussels sprouts and onions.  Jon enjoyed the Papa Bear Double Honey Ale (made with local honey!), and also had a Scottish Ale.  He was pleased with both his choices.

Jon’s Monkfish meal at the 3 Rivers Brewery

Jon’s Monkfish meal at the 3 Rivers Brewery

Farmington seemed like a neat little town; it has a population of about 45,000 and is home to San Juan College, a two year college with an enrollment of about 10,000 students.  We were headed the next day to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, but there are several other Puebloan ruins in the area that would have been nice to visit.

But we didn’t have much time for exploring on this trip; we headed back to get some sleep before our trip to Chaco Culture!

I do have one question though…  A 16 oz. beer is a pint everywhere, but at home in the Pacific Northwest we call a 10 oz. glass a schooner.  In the Southwest, the waitstaff were consistently confused by the term.  What’s a 10 oz. beer glass called where you live?

 

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5 thoughts on “SW National Parks Trip: Four Corners Monument

  1. We don’t do 10 oz in Arizona. We only do bigger sizes than the 16 oz. They do 16 or 22 oz in the pubs I’m familiar with. We’re thirsty here, because of the heat. 🙂

    • Patty, I think there are some places that do. Jon had a 10 oz at the Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff (I haven’t gotten that far yet… 🙂 ) But I can totally get being thirsty. If not because of the heat, because of the wind!

      • That’s good to know. I haven’t been back to Beaver Street in a while. Our last few visits there, we were checking out some of the newer places. But Beaver Street is great. And yes, the wind up there is pretty crazy. Wind and snow are the two main reasons I don’t live there anymore. 🙂

      • That wind made it so cold on a few of the days we were down that way! And I agree – I had really great food at the Beaver Street. The beer was good, but not quite as good as our microbrews in the the PNW.

  2. Pingback: Farewell 2014 – Say Hello to 2015! | Wine and History Visited

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