Hiking into the Mesa Verde ruins
25.08.2017 - 31.10.2018
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.
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.
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.
I was able to hang behind and shoot lots of photos while communing with the ancient ones.