Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A couple days in Cortez, CO

While Silverton was glorious during the daytime, it was dipping down into the 30’s at night since it was so high in elevation (9300 feet).  I was not really wanting to run my ceramic heater every night in the middle of August!  So, I decided to take a route home that would get me to some warmer weather and lower elevations, while still stopping to see some new sights along the way.

One place I’d yet to see was the 4 corners area and Mesa Verde National Park.  Cortez, Colorado is only about a four hour drive from Silverton, but it’s a completely different place.   It sits on more arid land beneath a large mesa (where Mesa Verde is located).  No 1800’s miners here.  This land has been home to numerous Native American tribes for centuries.

When I checked into my RV park in Cortez, the Native American desk clerk gave me a tourist map and pointed out a number of things to see and do in the area.  One that seemed like a quick and easy thing to fit into my evening errands, was a trip to the Native American Cultural Center downtown for their free nightly Indian dance presentation.

It wasn’t a huge extravaganza, but it was a very enjoyable and educational hour-long presentation by 2 Native American grandparents—Norman was a Sioux originally from South Dakota, and Ramona was a Navajo from New Mexico.

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Both changed their outfits a few times for the particular dances they were doing:
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Norman was also an amazing flute player.  I’d never heard a flute play multiple tones at the same time and it was very soothing to listen to. He was also a terrific dancer, spinning up to 7 hoops in his final dance.
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For the final dance, they invited audience members to join in a circle dance finished off by everyone drawing in close together to let out a loud Indian “WHOOP!”  What a great way to bring the various cultures together and end the evening!

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