Saturday, 13 July 2013

Mesa Verde and the Thousand Mile Mark

In about 1200 AD the Anasazi (Ancestral Pueblo people) who had lived since 550 AD in the area of Mesa Verde moved from the flat land of the mesa tops. For reasons that can only be guessed at they began to build their homes in alcoves clinging to the precipitous sides of the mesas. Less than 100 years later, and just as inexplicably, they abandoned the area. The National Parks Service ('NPS') now administers Mesa Verde and conducts tours of the cliff dwellings they left behind.


The breathtaking approach to the Mesa Verde area
If you are even remotely in the area this is a 'do not miss it' attraction.  The NPS has taken the almost inaccessible locations and made them easy, relatively speaking, to get to.  Many of the dwellings can be visited independently by hiking along switchback trails constructed in the cliff sides. Others can only be visited on guided tours.  They are all stunning.

D and I came here with No.2 son a couple of years ago. We visited the main part of the park at Chapin Mesa where most of the dwellings are located. Today we returned and completed our visit by touring the dwellings at Wetherill Mesa. If you only have a day to spare then spend it at Chapin Mesa but these sites are so stunning it is worth a couple of days to visit them all.

Climbing up to Balcony House at Chapin Mesa - not for the faint-hearted.

Cliff Palace at Chapin Mesa
Long House at Wetherill Mesa


Oh, and the thousand mile mark in my title - today we clocked up a thousand miles in our rental car. It was new when we picked it up with only half a mile on the odometer. I hate to think how many miles we have still to go.

Useful Link: http://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

Practical stuff: Tickets for the guided tours go on sale two days in advance. We managed to buy tickets on the day of our tour both times we visited but if you are planning to arrive in high season it is worth trying to buy the tickets the day before at least.



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For the next post in this series click - here

For all my posts on this road trip click - here

17 June 2013

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