Sunday, May 28, 2017

Exploring the Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park

Tuesday, May 16th 2017

I hadn’t heard of Mesa Verde National Park, but thankfully Norm had.  This park offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 550 to 1300. 
This is a fabulous National Park in Mesa Verde, Colorado

One of the many cliff dwellings here in Mesa Verde National Park

This is part of Coyote Village which was built prior to the famous cliff dwellings in AD 975. They built, abandoned and rebuilt many times, often changing the style.  This Kiva, a keyhole shape popular at the time, was probably built between AD 1100- 1200
Scientists and volunteers are trying to piece together the history of these people by scouring the 5000 archeological sites, 600 of which are cliff dwellings, ranging in size from under 10 rooms to massive 150 room villages!  These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

This diorama was in the Visitor Center depicting the way of life of the Ancestral Puebloans.
There are several tours given by the park to see inside these dwellings, and since we had not previously made reservations, ( which we try to do ) we thought it best to get there when they open for any possible availability.  

The view from one of the "Scenic Vistas" on the way to Mesa Verde National Park.
The drive to Mesa Verde was an interesting one.  The road climbed steeply for many miles, and as we passed through a valley it began to snow steadily for a few miles.  My!  We just can’t get out of the snow!

Luckily it did stop before the seriously steep and winding roads began.  Up and up we went, ears popping yet again. I’m getting used to this.  Don’t get me wrong-  I love the mountains!

The sights you could miss if you don't get out of the car and look over the edge on a scenic lookout!  This is so beautiful!
 The only tour available was, of course, the most strenuous. We would be required to climb a 32 foot ladder to the center of the site, crawl through a 12 foot tunnel that was 27 inches high and 15 inches wide. Then climb a 60 foot open rock face with two more ladders 10-12 feet high and stone steps to exit the site! They warned of the difficulty of this excursion and those with medical conditions or not in good physical shape should not try!  Good Lord!  Thank goodness Norm and I don’t seem to be affected by the high elevation, or it would be all that more difficult. Hey – isn’t the new mid 60’s the new mid-40’s?  ( age )
Norm trying not to get kicked in the face by the guy ahead of him!

This isn't so tough, but I am glad I don't have to go back down!
My, they do make this a little tight, don't they? 12 feet of this? Perhaps I should not have worn my backpack?

The rewards of a short, mile long hike.
The tour was in the afternoon at 2pm, but there was plenty to see and hikes to take of varying difficulty. I must admit, I was a little nervous about this tour and didn’t want to get exhausted before it started.  The drive to the meeting spot for the tour was over an hour away so we took our time stopping at various vistas.

This cliff dwelling was called Balcony House, where we toured.  The arrow is pointing at one of the ladders we climbed up into the dwelling.

 The tour was so much fun even though, with the 40 plus other visitors, there was a lot of waiting while each person tackled the ladders and tunnels.  The tour guide, a young archeologist, told us of the culture and history they have discovered, and stressed the point that there was so much they still don’t know. They can only guess why they chose to live high up under the cliff edges where getting water and food was so difficult, not to mention the physical exertion it would have taken to get there at all!  Very interesting, and the views of the canyons and cliffs were phenomenal!


Collard Lizard found sunning himself


Cave Junction, Obrien, Oregon

August 17 th – 19 th ,2017 We were so surprised to see what looked like Customs down the road.  Did we take a wrong turn? I thought...