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Entries about mesa verde

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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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!
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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.
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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)

A Hike Into Mug House

Hiking into the Mesa Verde ruins


View Fall trip 2018 & Summer Trip 3 on Miss Chris's travel map.

With the cooking class over it was time to move on to Mesa Verde.

In 2006 my dad, who was still with us, told me about 2 hikes that had opened up, one being to Mug House. We’d planned a grandkids trip with our 6,8,9 and 10-year old grandkids to the southwest so Mesa Verde was on the way. We bought tickets for the hikes and on we went. Unfortunately, I was using a small point and shoot and the camera card crashed after our trip so any photos, good or bad, were lost.

Several weeks ago, we were in Great Basin on a grandkids trip when I ran into retired rangers. As we were talking they mentioned that the trip to Mug House had just opened for tours but was only taking a few people down and it wouldn’t last long. I immediately got online and found that it was open for tours, 10 people per tour, 3 days a week for a few weeks. We were there!

The drive to Mesa Verde was an afternoon drive, arriving in the early evening. We found a site in the campground and set up camp. We not only had reservations for a hike on Fri a.m. but an evening hike on Sunday for sunset.

The drive from the campground to the mesa, where several ruins are, takes about 45 minutes. The road follows hills and the tops of mesas. There are lookouts high on the hills that overlook the cities below.

The hike into Mug House is only open with a ranger-led hike. The hike itself is about 3 miles round trip, nearly straight down the hill, over boulders and rocks. At 7,000’ elevation, the hike back up is a scramble that will leave one breathless.
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https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/backcountry_hikes.htm

Mug House itself was amazing again. The ranger who led the hike was an archeologist so she pointed out items that we would have missed; slight differences between building bricks, residue paint inside rooms and windows used as doors.
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A small step ladder was onsite so that we could view, up close, the areas inside the ruins along the wall. We could note the designs still visible around the bottom of the kiva.
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I was able to hang behind and shoot lots of photos while communing with the ancient ones.

Posted by Miss Chris 08:07 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hiking mesa_verde camping national_park glamping rv_travel mug_house Comments (0)

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