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Magic Land

A letter from the editor of our September 2017 issue.

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I was just a kid the first time I visited the Four Corners region and the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. Anyone who’s been to Colorado’s oldest national park knows it’s one of those places that burrows deep in the recesses of your memory; it’s also, apparently, the kind of place that buries reminders of itself in long-forgotten boxes. Just a few years ago, I was sorting through some junk when I found a turquoise, purple, and orange patch from Mesa Verde. I fished it out and brought it into the office, where it’s now mounted on the corkboard above my computer. Every day since, that little piece of fabric has reminded me of not only what it felt like to crawl through the tunnels of the park’s magnificent structures, but also how lucky I was to experience that awe-inspiring part of the country at just 11 years old. Features editor Kasey Cordell, who visited the region last year for the first time, was just as captivated as I was so many years ago. For this issue, she crafted “The 5280 Guide to the Four Corners,” which details where to go, what to do, and what you absolutely need to see where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It may come as a surprise that Mesa Verde isn’t necessarily at the top of the list—that is, until you learn how much magic the rest of the landscape holds. From the cliff dwellings of Canyons of the Ancients on the Utah border to New Mexico’s Shiprock formation to the dramatic curves of the San Juan River, Four Corners is both an area of great cultural import and a haven for folks who love the outdoors. Next summer, our family plans to visit Four Corners—my eldest son will be the same age I was when I went in the mid-1980s—and we’ll be sure to use Cordell’s feature as our guide.

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