Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

We spent the last few days at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. We arrived a bit earlier than planned so spent our first afternoon and evening exploring the overlooks and a hike. We hiked down to Spruce Tree house to view Ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings from 1240-1270AD.

My class eye roll is showing up because I am feeling like there are a lot of photos!

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We took our time on the hike down and learned about local plants, how the cliff dwellings were established, all about seep springs and more about the history of the area.

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Walking through the old cliff dwelling was pretty awesome. You could see marks on the alcove ceilings where fire had burned in rooms to keep people warm. To farm they would climb up the cliff faces using finger and toe holds. That was how everyone got in and out of the dwellings.

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We got to climb down into a “kiva” which was part meeting place and part ceremonial. All of the dwellings we saw were centered around the kivas. Each family group seemed to have their own kiva.

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We explored other uncovered ruins that were protected by newer constructed shelters. It was neat to think that these people lived here over 1000 years ago.

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We drove a trail on which we saw lots more examples of cliff dwellings. From one loop road we saw over 6 different sites searched high in the cliffs.

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We saw “rare plants”. This plant only grows on the Cliff Palace area. It was called the Cliff Palace Milk Vetch.

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It was really pretty.

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This is Cliff Palace!

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The Sun Temple was HUGE! It was on top of the mesa though.

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We explored the rest of Mesa Verde NP and even walked up to the highest elevation at 8572 feet above sea level.

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The views were amazing!

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We explored the Far House sites in the chilly morning air.

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Then we headed back up the mesa for a tour of Balcony House.

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We had to hike a trail and then climb up a 30 foot ladder.

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Once up the ladder we were in the courtyard of the little community in the cliff.

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Our Ranger guide, Kaitlyn, was giving her final tour of there time here at Mesa Verde. She is off to Fishing Bridge at Yellowstone this wee

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SinceĀ arrived a bit earlier than expected so we got a everything on our list done a day early. We opted, rather than just sit around for a day to move forward on to Glen Canton National Recreation Area a day early.

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