17 May 2014

HIKING REPORT: Part 1 - Exploring National and State Parks

May 11-12, Mesa Verde National Park

On June 29, 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park to "preserve the works of man," the first national park of its kind.

Ancestral Puebloans made Mesa Verde their home from about A.D. 550 to 1300.  For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls.  In the late A.D. 1200, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away.  Today the park contains over 4,000 archaeological sites including cliff dwellings and the mesa top sites of pit-houses, pueblos, masonry towers and farming structures.  It is a truly magical place that tests your imagination trying to picture the ancient people living and thriving in such an environment.

The Cliff Palace – Contained approximately 150 rooms and 23 kivas (a subterranean structure used primarily for ceremonial or political gatherings).  Experts estimate that it was home to over 100 people.

The Spruce Tree House - contained 130 rooms and 8 kivas, home to 60-80 people.  Notice the black on the rock ceiling indicating years of cooking fires and the ladder down to one of the larger kivas.

The Girls

The Guys
The Petroglyph Point Trail

Mesa Verde Museum

View of the Museum from the hiking trail

Sign on museum door - don't think we'd see the last item at home.

The Next Morning

That's it for now - Wry reporting ..... giving Crusty a break!

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