Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Another 3 day trip to the town of Cortez Colorado with 3 nights in another hotel bed listening to people walking up and down the halls all night long.  We decided to leave our home in Arches National Park rather than take it with us but hope we don't do this again.

We did get another check off of Dick's bucket list and did 3 trips into Mesa Verde National Park for step back into history starting about the year 500 through about 1400 when the ancestors of today's Native Americans populated this portion of the country.

Jackie is getting a closer look at one of the many canyons below (way below) where these people lived for close to 1400 years before moving south due to unknown reasons.  Could have been that the food source dried up because of drought, over planting, lack of fire wood for cooking or that they finally depleted all the natural resources in the area.  An answer still to be found.

A look at one of the several long canyons where at one time there were over 600 separate archaeological sites in this area.  There were trails up and down all the canyons for movement between the homes or villages.  Not sure we would want to travel over this landscape in bare feet.

We drove out onto one of the many Mesa's and took a self guided tour of Step House.  This is one of the few dwellings that you can tour without a Ranger guide.  We pushed this tour as we needed to catch a bus for another tour.  Still very interesting and as usual Dick got a lot more pictures than we will show here. 

To really get the full effect of these sites you will need to click on the pictures to enlarge them.  The magnitude of these structures is unbelievable until you walk through them.  This is just one small section of Step House showing how they incorporated the large chunks of rock that had fallen from the top of the cave into their homes.

Moving on to another location is Kodak House, have no idea of where this name came from.  If they told us we forgot.  This is a two level series of homes; not sure I would want to live in the lower section but that's another story left untold.  They farmed on both the top and in the canyon.  It's a long and hard way to get up and down.

They could have used the upper area more for storage and the lower for living.

Still another location is now called Long House.  Don't know if we could climb up and down from this house very often or would want to.

Again this house had a storage area above the living area.  No sneaking to the storage shelves for a midnight snack here.

Another area called Square Tower House.  Some of the houses have deteriorated from time and weather and others vandalized through the years by pot hunters.

A little closer look at the square tower and other rooms around it.

 And finally for this Blog is Cliff House, quite an extensive series of rooms both living areas and ceremonial areas.

Dick's grandfather was a stone mason, he could have learned a lot from these folks with walls still standing over a 1000 years.

A final shot showing a closeup of the remains of some of the rooms at Cliff Palace some round and some square and some from floor to ceiling.

For our granddaughter Molly, here is a shot of some of the wild horses that populate this National Park.

Before heading back home to Arches we made a side trip to "4 corners" said to be the point where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico all meet.  This is on the Indian Reservation so they charge $3.00 each person to enter and give you the opportunity to purchase items from the 80 or so booths set up around the perimeter.

To be continued...


Guy said...

Sounds like a fun trip except for the strange beds. Not our favorite either. Did I say that we are thinking of Yuma this winter? Looks like a go. Now need to know how to get all my stuff into a fifthwheel and pickup again. grin happy trails the bro
did you read that Laura and the bunch got busted for imigration in Mexico??

Katie O'Hearn said...

wow, what an incredible journey!!