Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mesa Verde

You could spend a week exploring Mesa Verde. This year we got in one day due to thunderstorms and only drove Chapin Mesa. Yes, the sky looks all blue and sunny and happy in the morning. But those clouds tell you that it will be coming later.

The north part of the park is a climb up from the Montezuma and Mancos Valleys below. There are several viewpoints to stop at and enjoy.

The first is at a portion of the original road into the park.Yes, many vehicles fell off.

The Montezuma Valley with the Sleeping Ute on the left.

Higher up.

I can see our house down there (with good binoculars).

Look closely and you can see Shiprock in the haze in the distance.

Here's some help:

The Spruce Tree House is one of the only dwellings that you can explore (mostly) by yourself. There are rangers on site to keep teenagers off the wall and to offer explanations and pictures from before the partial reconstruction. The opinion of the person on duty that day was that "he got some of it wrong." But it is close enough to give you a good feel for what living in the houses  must have been like. With the walks up and down the cliffs I can tell you that those people were in a lot better shape than I am.

Ladders lead down into the kivas.

Note group of teenage girls who had to be removed from the wall.

Interior shots.

You can see where the ceiling is still black from ancient cooking and heating fires.

A view south through the canyon toward a cliff with petroglyphs.

Outlying buildings to the north of the great house.

A parting shot.

There are a number of partially excavated pit houses on the mesa top which predate the cliff dwellings.

It is said that the holes in the floor were for food storage.

Navajo Canyon.

When you start looking you realize that you can see more cliff houses.

A detail from the upper right of the precevious picture.

Square Tower House.

The Fire Temple and New Fire House

And another house:

Some just have numbers.  There are over 4000 archaeological sites in the park.

Sun Point View? Some days.

The Sun Temple.

The Cliff Palace as seen from across the canyon near the Sun Palace.

A number of smaller houses can be seen from this overlook.

Make sure that you click on the pictures to enlarge them.

House of Many Windows.

It's a totally amazing experience.