I wasn’t sure if Dad really wanted to go back to Four Corners (he’d visited a LONG time ago, before I was born!), but I was all psyched about sitting in four states at once (Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico) because it’s the only place in the U.S. where that many states share a common point. So, the day we left Arches National Park, we headed south through Utah and skipped the rest of Canyonlands, figuring we’d seen what the big deal about canyons and red rock formations was about in Bryce, Arches, and the top part of Canyonlands in the preceeding five days. It was a pretty uneventful drive, but Dad and I honed our skill of identifying species of roadkill.
On this trip I’ve learned that while I take after Mom physically, I’m Dad’s child all the way. We have the same patience (which is to say, we don’t own a lot of this particular virtue), and we handle stress similarly. The good news is, each person in my family has figured out his/her weaknesses and owned up to them. So when one of us gets a little crotchety it’s no big deal. Usually, the person to be in a funk usually says something, like, “Hey, I’m sorry but I’m really frustrated right now because I was having trouble with ___________.” I spent 11 days with my parents, and we never had a grump session that lasted longer than 10 minutes. Dr. Phil would be proud.
Four Corners is on “Navajoland.” You have to pay $3/person to enter the little compound, which is comprised of a parking lot, extra dirt/gravel parking areas, some port-o-potties, and a curved line of booths or stalls surrounding the actual point of “four corners”. From the picture, you can see that there is a slab broken up into four quadrants, and each piece is marked by a bronze seal of the state, and the state’s name. The podium is encircled by flags, and there’s a small, rickety 2×4-built platform off to one side for someone to stand on and take pictures with a slightly better vantage point. There is no shade, and the metal is HOT! If you look carefully, I’m not actually resting my hands on the ground behind me in this picture.
When we first arrived at Four Corners, the crowds were pretty thick around this area, so Mom, Dad and I first patrolled the booths looking for gifts, all the while eyeballing the amount of visitors so we could make a break for the optimal photo opportunity when we’d have Four Corners all to ourselves. All items being sold were made by Navajo men and women, and the majority of what was offered for sale was jewelry and pottery, although there were also t-shirts, hand-fletched arrows and small carved trinkets. As you walk along, most of the stuff looks the same or similar, but every now and then you would find a little gem, like this piece:
I saw it and immediately HAD TO HAVE IT. I loved the shape, and the colors, and the way the pieces of turquoise were puzzled together. I paid $45 cash for it (no tax), and as the woman came around from the back of the booth to put her display back together, she shared, “It’s Amber Valley turquoise.” Surprise showed on my face. “My last name is Amber!” A smile lit up her eyes, and she at-once became very friendly. This piece was made by a member of her family, and was signed on the back. Mom showed an interest in a piece made out of the same stuff, but my necklace was the only piece on the table. The woman went back into the booth, and came out with a small plastic baggie. Inside were nicer, more expensive pieces of jewelry that she was planning to take to an art fair for her relative. Out of what was offered, Mom found a beautiful pendant, and Dad bought it for her.
From Four Corners we set off into Colorado, and boy what a change! TREES! And, at different elevations the trees changed from shrubby oaks to evergreens to ASPENS. My favorite. I love the sound that aspen leaves make when the wind blows through them, and I can’t stop marveling at how straight they grow, with their black knots and wrinkles on smooth, white bark. We stopped at one overlook with a great view, talked to a fellow motorcyclist, and bonded with a rock squirrel over Chex Mix pretzels and trail mix nuts and raisins. I found a large rock to sit on and take in the view, and realized that I didn’t think I would EVER get tired of looking out onto a view like this one, listening to the Aspens rustling in the background and watching the breeze cause the grasses and wild flowers to sway…