Mesa Verde National Park
After escaping the snow in Black Canyon of the Gunnison, I was ready for some National Parks that I wasn't going to freeze to death at. I headed south to check out Mesa Verde National Park, a few hour drive from there near the four corners area. I can't say I was quite aware that in this few hour drive I was going to be crossing a huge mountain range, in a snow/hail storm, and with my car yelling at me to get an oil change. I also got those 10k high up elevation out of breath shakes as I was running around taking photos in the snow. There were lots of gorgeous aspen trees up there and perfect crystal clear skies- you almost forget they exist living in LA.
Once I got to Mesa Verde, it was another hour or so drive around the park to get to Cliff Palace. There were thousands of dead trees by the road, which was somehow quite beautiful. In order to get a close up experience with the ruins you have to go on a tour arraigned by the visitor center [and given by the park rangers]. I was able to get in on the last tour of the day at 5pm and hang out with a family from Riverside, CA sporting destruction derby shirts. A few people wanted to talk camera with me, which was nice because at this point I probably hadn't talked to anyone in a couple days. Anyway, the tour was actually great and in between another snowstorm the sun peaked out and cooked the ruins with gorgeous sunset light. After the tour I got my last shots of the day and only saw a couple cars the whole time and got to really hang out and enjoy myself. The next day it was off to Capitol Reef National Park!