Hovenweep National Monument
Completed: September 26, 2015
Another favorite site, and one that is a bit off the beaten path, but well worth a visit. There is a visitor center and campground, other visitor services are an hour away, so plan accordingly. There are several ruin locations besides the main area, which the staff at the visitor center will provide directions. The 1-1/2 mile Ruins Trail. From the visitor center or campground is an excellent hike which takes you past numerous ruins.
Even though this is not considered Senior Friendly as an upper age limit is given, however the staff was encouraging of this Senior. There are three ages groupings; ages 6 and under, ages 7 to 9, and ages 10 to 12.
To earn the award each person needs to hike at least one trail and complete the required number of activities based on the age grouping. The youngest age group completes 3 activities and is designated by a paint pot design. The middle age group completes 4 and 3 must be marked with the ruin symbol and the oldest age group completes 5 activities and 3 are marked with the arrowhead symbol.
Activities include; Welcome (hike), Design your own Jar, Maze, Connect the Dots, Bingo!, What’s wrong with this picture?, Word Search, Crack the Code,True or False?, Crossword – Protect the Past, and Observations.
By far, my favorite activity was the hike along the Ruins Trail. These ruins are set along the rim and down inside the canyon you hike which allows for some up close views. The trail has a few ups and downs, but is easy to complete. The last page in the booklet, Observations, has you record things you heard, saw and smelled along the hike. The weather was great the morning I hiked. I also enjoyed decorating an ola, water jar, using colored pencils.
The True or False? page had 12 statements that you could determine whether they were true or not by looking at the park brochure and signs in the visitor center. I learned that the ruins built as towers were only occupied for a short time, compared to how long the ancestral Puebloans lived in this area. The Crossword-Protect the Past tested your knowledge about protecting archeological sites, always a good reminder.
I took my completed booklet to the visitor center and had it checked by a staff member. After signing my certificate I was awarded with the enhanced Junior Ranger badge.