A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about hiking

Mesa Verde's Long House

A hike into the Long House

sunny 40 °F
View UK 2018 & Fall trip 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

Tuesday morning, we had a fairly early hike, and with the drive up to the Mesa, another 45 minutes, made our departure time even earlier. I was a little concerned that there might be ice on the road as it was only in the 20’s but roads were clear.

For those who haven’t been to Mesa Verde, the mesa drive is so beautiful. There are pull-outs that look over the valley, pull-outs that look over the canyons one each side, and in some stretches, there is a drop off on each side with only the road visible. I found myself looking for ruins in alcoves within the canyon walls.

For this day we had a hike into a site we’d never visited before, “Long House”.

“Long House” is a different hike, 2 hours in total which includes the tour of the site, most other hikes only last 1 hour. The hike itself is easy at first, level and paved, but down into the site, the trail consists of steep switchbacks. It wasn’t so hard that we had to stop too many times on the way out, but, we wished we would have brought water.
https://www.nps.gov/meve/learn/historyculture/cd_long_house.htm

The ruins are appropriately named as the alcove is long with the site stretching along further than others do. The ranger led us thru the site walking to the rear to see the seep spring, pointing out where the people collected their water. We reflected on how the community must have interacted at the site, possibly gossiping or exchanging ideas while collecting their water or keeping the chaos of children’s games from muddying their water. Coming out of the site the ranger pointed out a hand print on the top of the alcove.
IMG_20181016_112307241_HDR.jpgIMG_20181016_110759870_HDR.jpgIMG_20181016_122643_121.jpg
Going into the sites gives one the sense of going back in time and the rangers are knowledgeable and give us a chance to reflect on those who went before us.
IMG_20181016_113039453_HDR.jpg
We are looking forward to going back.

Posted by Miss Chris 11:00 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra long_house Comments (0)

A Little Time in Balcony House

A walk into Balcony House in Mesa Verde


View UK 2018 & Fall trip 2018 on Miss Chris's travel map.

Instead of playing in New Mexico on Sunday morning, we drove off to beat the storm. At least we hoped we were beating it. We wanted to get to Mesa Verde in Colorado where there was no rain in the forecast.

Driving north we always love driving by the “Earthship Homes” in New Mexico and someday we will stop so I can shoot photos of the fun homes. We know we are on the right road when we pass by the homes.

As we started over the pass we discovered that snow had already fallen, fortunately, the roads were not slick. It did snow for a bit while driving but mostly we left it behind after the pass. We did see so many beautiful trees in full fall colors and I was having Dale stop every few minutes so I could shoot more photos. He probably thought we would never get going.
IMG_20181014_154614750_HDR.jpg
We got into Mesa Verde after dark, and it was really dark. If our truck lights had gone out we would have been goners as part of the road is on a steep hillside. This must be one of the darkest places on earth. We found the campground and backed into our site, hooking up to electricity. We were so happy for electricity as it was below freezing and the heater quickly made our RV warm and toasty.

I had looked online earlier and found that only 2 tours into ruins were available and that this was the last week of the tours for the year. We couldn’t buy tickets online but rather had to go to the Visitors Center to purchase them.

First thing Monday morning we drove down to the Visitors Center, got a Jr. Ranger book for Zaya and tickets for the 2 hikes available. One hike was for that afternoon and the other for Tuesday morning.

Monday’s hike was for Balcony House. I was looking forward to this hike as we go thru a tunnel that was used by the Ancestral Pueblo people. Kids could stand up in part of the tunnel but most of us were forced to crawl. This is also a great site as we could walk in areas where they walked and worked. https://www.mesaverde.org/files/uploaded-images/2013BalconyHs_English.pdf
IMG_20181015_160741816_HDR.jpgIMG_20181015_160821319.jpg
I had taken photos years ago in Balcony House but lost the negatives and gave the original photos away as a gift so I was so happy to be able to shoot photos again. I didn’t take the tripod but did carry my big camera for better photos.

Zaya was a little concerned about climbing the 30’ high ladder but after doing so wasn’t afraid at all for the others. But I was just a little worried when she was scrambling up the toe-holds etched into the cliff to the exit. She had to stretch her legs to get from one hold to another, then stopped and turned around to talk. I told her to keep her eyes on where she was going. I have no idea how I was planning to catch her if she fell and, since I was right behind her, I couldn’t shoot photos of the toe holds but did turn around and shoot one looking down the cliff. YIKES, how the ancients went up and down carrying babies, food or what have you, I have no idea!
IMG_20181015_161426289.jpg
Once again, the Jr Ranger program opened up opportunities for Dale and me to learn more. We visited the pit houses on top of the mesa, learning how they were built and how people lived. We noted the foundation walls of a village around the excavated pit homes. As with our other Jr. Ranger events we had to read every word of every sign with Zaya but again learned so much.
IMG_20181015_170434831.jpgIMG_20181015_170506756.jpg
As the mesa top is open 24/7 we could take our time with our only worry being to leave by the time we wanted dinner. We were cold and tired when we returned to the RV but so happy with our exciting day.

Posted by Miss Chris 12:52 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra balcony_house Comments (0)

The Birthday Backpack Trip Is Over

But we have a new plan for Glampacking!

sunny 73 °F

Nate, Bekki, and Camilo hiked out early taking the 2 youngest boys. They left Dale, Zaya and I to pack up as we wanted and hike out at our own pace. But, before they left, Jasper found Camilo’s stash of pop-tarts. He had quite a smile on his face when he was caught eating them up.
IMG_20180903_080258521.jpg
We were really tired of freeze-dried food and didn’t feel like cooking up a big breakfast, so we ate some snacks and started packing up. We took the time to enjoy our last moments of solitude.
IMG_20180903_084647223_HDR.jpg
The hike out was, at least at first, a nice stroll. We didn’t hurry along until clouds started gathering on the north and western horizons. Then the winds picked up. We have backpacked enough to know when to pick up the pace and we did.

Zaya was really great, she stopped every little while, pronouncing each place beautiful and pointed out some point of beauty. She was so glad to spot the Mulshy Meadow from the mountain, later pointing out where she thought that they had camped.
IMG_20180903_111753035_HDR.jpgIMG_20180903_111727783_HDR.jpgIMG_20180903_084650961_HDR.jpg
We ran out of water before the trailhead and it was quite warm, not to mention that my pack was super heavy. We were so happy when we saw Nate heading our way with a water bottle.

As we walked out, Dale and I discussed some new ideas for backpacking. We have decided that we will either hire people to carry our stuff or hire someone with a pack service with donkeys.

We told Nate about this plan and he had thought the same thing. He knows someone who does this with donkeys and thinks that the donkeys carry about 100# each. Do you know how much fresh, good food, and equipment I can pack in 100#? Talk about Glam-backpacking! I’m there!!!!

Posted by Miss Chris 18:39 Archived in USA Tagged nature hiking backpacking outdoors family_backpack_trip high_sierra back_country eastern_sierra grandkinds Comments (0)

Birthday Backpack Trip, Day 3

The lost family arrived in time for the birthday party

sunny 75 °F

Nate and family did not show up on Sat. We didn’t know if they couldn’t find us, or if they didn’t make it up to the area at all.

In the meantime, Lucian, our older grandson, woke up with a fever and sore throat. Justin decided that we should hike out.

Dale and I talked and decided that we did not want to hike out and go home. The weather was hot at home and we’d planned to stay until Monday. We gave Justin our extra items, took all of the leftover food and his stove. We had 2 backpacker meals plus the little bit of freeze-dried foods. We also kept the box wine and the port.

Dale and I were eating lunch when I caught sight of Camilo coming down the hill. We yelled to him and waved, sure enough, we were found. Then along came Zaya, she ran, throwing off her hat, sweatshirt and backpack as she ran. Lots of hugs, but more importantly they were out of water and thirsty and we had plenty.
IMG_20180902_141836087.jpg
After Zaya and Camilo reported that Bekki and Nate were completely out of water, Dale took off with containers of water and met them along the trail.

Nate and Bekki, with kids in tow, and you must know that the kids walked nearly the entire way; Emilio age 5 and Jasper age 3, arrived at the camp. Kids kicked off their shoes and ran down to the meadow to play in the water.
IMG_20180902_155022877_HDR.jpgIMG_20180902_162513388_HDR.jpg
For dinner, we had fusion Mexican-Pho soup and Quesadillas made with Nate’s Sonora wheat. Then it was time for the party, a Twinkie birthday cake. As we didn’t want to set the forest on fire we did not set out 74 candles.
IMG_20180902_171506423_HDR.jpgIMG_20180902_174513271.jpgIMG_20180902_171511582.jpgIMG_20180902_181815446.jpg
As for Nate, Bekki, kids and Camilo, they didn’t take the turn onto the Pacific Crest Trail but instead went down a steep trail to another side of Mulshy Meadow. They thought that they saw lights from us but it was someone else. Hence, the delay to our campsite.
IMG_20180902_182213490.jpg
Next backpack trip we are taking a good map and making sure that we are all on the same route.

Posted by Miss Chris 08:54 Archived in USA Tagged nature hiking backpacking outdoors grandkids family_backpack_trip high_sierra back_country eastern_sierra Comments (0)

Last Day in Bryce Canyon

Walking the Rim Trail

sunny 85 °F

Kids woke up early and got dressed quickly. They were not going to miss out on another breakfast at the Bryce Canyon Lodge. And we did make it in time.

We have been spoiled by the lodges in the National Parks: El Tovar at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake Lodge, Princess Lodge in Alaska, Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone, Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park and Banff Springs Hotel in Canada. We have not stayed at most of these hotels, only had meals. The Bryce Canyon Lodge was good but not in the same league as the other lodges. It was fun, and kids were impressed but to us, well, we expected more.

We went back to the RV, changed clothes then hopped onto the shuttle to walk the rim walk. The rim walk is a partially paved walk that extends from the hotel to the campgrounds. Note that there are no handrails except at the lookouts.
IMG_20180809_124242185.jpgIMG_20180810_122210003.jpg
We walked from the hotel but only made it to Sunrise point where we caught a shuttle back to the RV. We drank nearly all of our water and as it was getting quite warm out and water was not available for about another mile we cut the walk short at 1.5 miles.
IMG_20180810_123256414.jpgIMG_20180810_121758884.jpg
Along the trail were many beautiful views of the canyon. In a forested area, kids stopped to play on downed trees. They stopped to count the rings of one tree and Lucian gave a little lesson on reading the life of the tree. Kids then looked for bugs under the bark of the downed trees, jumped and played.
IMG_20180810_125945112.jpg

We stopped for last-minute souvenirs, then packed up the RV and started for home. Another successful grandkids trip completed.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:38 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature hiking national_park outdoors bryce_canyon_lodge grandkids grandkids_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures gmc_truck gmc_sierra bryce_canyon_national-park Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 24) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 » Next