Monticello, UT

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Back in 2015, we traveled through Utah, visiting all five national parks in the state.  One of our stops was Moab.  From there we had the chance to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands is a large park, specifically, 337,598 acres.  It consists of 3 districts.  The Island in the Sky district is closest to Moab and the most visited.  This is the part we saw back in 2015.  The Needles district occupies the southeastern part of the park and is close to Monticello.  This is the portion we visited on this trip.  The Maze district in the southwestern part of the park is very remote and is only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles and for backcountry exploration. Continue reading

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Cortez, CO

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Our main objective for stopping in Cortez was to visit nearby Mesa Verde National Park.  In Cortez, we parked at La Mesa RV Park.

Mesa Verde - Cliff Palace

At around 500 A.D., groups of Native Americans living in the four corners region began moving onto Mesa Verde.  The four corners area consists of southwestern Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah.  These groups had already developed farming skills and no longer needed to remain mobile in order to follow game migrations.  So they could “put down roots” so to speak and stay put in one place. Continue reading

Rapid City, SD (Black Hills)

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The Black Hills area of western South Dakota holds many man-made and natural attractions that adds up to a very appealing place to visit and explore.  To do so, we parked at the American Buffalo Resort just south of the city of Rapid City, SD.

Mount Rushmore

The thing that most people know about this area is that this is where you can find Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  Gutzon Borglum was the chief sculptor who dedicated 14 years of his life to creating this massive memorial to four men who had profound impact in the history of our country.  Their vision and leadership very literally shaped how we came to be the most unique democracy in the world.  In the words of Mr. Borglum, “A monument’s dimensions should be determined by the importance to civilization of the events commemorated.”  Carving began in 1927 and was completed in 1941, just months after Borglum’s death.  The cost was just shy of $1 million, almost double the original estimate.  Nearly 3 million people from all over the world visit Mount Rushmore every year. Continue reading