7 Slot Nomads

Get Out

In 2010, I came across some of the coolest pictures of Anasazi cliff dwellings online. I contacted the photographer to ask about locations. He was pretty reticent about giving up that information as they aren’t on the tourist grid and they are still under study by the BLM.

Over a period of weeks, we conversed several times and became internet friends. I explained all I wanted to do was to go out there with my oldest son Tim and leave some footprints and take some pictures.

I explained we are more into backcountry camping and hiking than following the established guided tour. He accepted my promise to not post location information and just use it for my personal enjoyment and gave me several GPS coordinates and landmarks.

In late April, Tim and I took off for SE Utah and the Comb Ridge area. There are a LOT of cliff dwellings in the Comb Ridge area and we hiked into several of them. Some were easy to find, some were not. We Jeeped a couple of ATV trails back into the back country and looked at some arches, but the cliff dwellings were fascinating.

We camped several days in the Comb Ridge area. As we were climbing back out of a slot canyon, we found a BLM Ranger standing by our Jeep curious about what we were doing out there in an area that wasn’t officially listed and was still under study. We convinced her we were only there for the pictures and the scenery.

She asked how long we had been camping out and where. We told her several days off of Comb Ridge. She then asked us when the last time we heard a weather report. We had to honestly answer that it was in Bluff before we Jeeped our way out. She told us storms were moving in and we should get out first thing the next morning or it would be pretty miserable trying to make it back to pavement.

Shortly after daylight the next morning, we ate a quick breakfast, broke camp in a cold spitting rain, and hit the trail. We were almost out of gas, our spare cans were empty, and we were down to the last couple gallons of water, so it was time to bail out anyway. We made it back to Bluff, refueled in the rain and decided to run through Hovenweep to Durango for some fun. Then see if the pass was open to Silverton.

It starting snowing on us in Hovenweep and it was getting thick by the time we reached Durango. Silverton was snowed in and so were we (at least for a day or so). The snow melted off the next day and we headed south into New Mexico by the backroads and eventually headed back home.
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