Friday, May 20, 2011

The Cliff Dwellings

Our early morning walk thru the campground with the doodles was thru a winter wonderland.   A fresh blanket of snow covered the ground and as the sun peeked thru the clouds, the white, blue, and green of the trees combined with the sparkles from the melting drops of snow created a visual feast.

As we quietly walked along - a herd of about 6 deer cautiously watched us pass by no more than 10' away.  Even the dogs seemed to enjoy the quiet beauty and did nothing to disturb the scene.

Did I paint a nice picture for you??  I hope so because we forgot to bring the camera on our walk.

Here was our site a hour or so later as we got ready to tour the park.

Our forecast for today was for conditions better than yesterday and we were not disappointed.  It was mostly cloudy but bits of sun peaked thru here and there and as the day progressed the cloud cover has been steadily lifting promising an even better day tomorrow.

Now to todays festivities:

Spruce Tree House - Best preserved cliff dwellings in the park

Mesa Verde is a World Heritage Park.  It's main attractions are the ruins of ancient native American cultures dating from approx 500 Ad thru 1300 Ad.  The ruins consist of both above-ground Pueblo style structures, and the Cliff Dwellings.   The Cliff Dwellings were the last structures built before the area was deserted around 1300.   The reason for everyones leaving is not known.  It could have been a drought that was taking place at the time - it could have been threats from neighboring tribes - perhaps we will never know why they left.

In the Spruce Tree House Dwellings

Kate climbs down into a Kiva or ceremonial room at Spruce Tree House (thankfully her back is ok!)

In this dry country, the ravines on the mesa where the dwellings are located are quite lush with a variety of fauna, and plentiful water supplies.

This is Cliff Palace - the largest dwelling in the park (over 150 rooms)  We are going to take the tour tomorrow.  You must climb up and down ladders to tour it.  For perspective look to the lower right side of the complex and you will see people standing there.

After lunch it was time to head back to the camper and take the doodles out for a stroll but first one last short hike.

Huffing and puffing due to the altitude - the view at the top was great - even with the clouds.

These mountains are in Arizona - I forget the name.

Our camp is beyond the far ridge.

Tomorrow we hope for more sun and warmer temps.  After exploring the park more tomorrow, Sunday we will pack up camp and head to Dead Horse State Park in Utah.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful and awesome! Looks like you were not disappointed at Mesa Verde!


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