Friday, October 2, 2009

Honeymoon - Mesa Verde National Park

After the train ride, we rode over to Mesa Verde National Park and spent some time being amazed at the Cliff Dwellings. Native Americans lived there around 1200AD. Here are some pics:

Huge butte while driving to Mesa Verde.

The first of many mountain tunnels - at home our tunnels go under the sea!
And we saw a coyote!
Here's Jay on top of the world. Elevation at Mesa Verde is pretty damn high - about 10,000 feet. Jay did get a little altitude sickness, but water and rest made him feel better.

Me - no altitude sickness (I rock!).
This is the Spruce Tree Cliff Dwelling. It is the most accessible and Jay and I walked down, down, down to see it.
Here's Jay checking it out.
This is where they would grind their maize, or corn for the lay-people.
And here's the kiva, where ceremonial and important occasions took place.
Here we are in front of the Spruce Tree House.

Okay, this might be hard to see (if you click on the photo, it usually gets bigger), but...see that arch in the cliff? Right under it is a cliff dwelling! How did people live here? And why?
To put it in perspective - that same arch is in this picture, on the left side.
Here's another one that is easier to see - you can see the windows. This was called the House of Windows.

And one more - right under the overhang (click on picture to see it better). It was amazing. I wish I took pictures of the museum we went into - they've found tons of artifacts in these dwellings - and there are thousands of these dwellings in the area!
Jay and I did the Balcony House tour. It was very, very cool - but also very, very scary. We started on top of the cliff (above the cliff dwelling) and the Ranger led us down a steep trail and stairs until we were below the dwelling. From there we climbed a 30 foot wooden ladder - scary!
And entered the dwelling. Here we had a nice Interpretive program (that's what I do for my job, so that was a different kind of fun for me!).
Then we had to crawl through a dark, small 12-foot long tunnel on our hands and knees. Here's Jay's bum going through!

We had to climb more ladders, then scramble across the face of the cliff where there were hand and foot holds chipped into the rock, and then another ladder!
Here's the view down once I got to the top! This is when Jay started feeling the altitude so I stopped taking pictures and we headed down to flatter ground! Next edition: Arches National Park!

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