We spent the last few days at Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde is the largest archeological site in the USA. It is home to cliff dwelling Ancestral Pueblos from the 700AD to 1270AD time frame.
We hiked down a trail to Spruce Tree House. You are able to walk on the preserved ruins.
We enjoyed the hike down in the shade to the site. We are getting better at the hikes as we go along in this trip. I was skipping down the trail.
The ruins were EPIC! (BTW EPIC is my new word…everything is EPIC!)
Mom read the self guide book as we looked at all the things at the site. We did talk to the rangers and ask a few questions but mostly we were on our own.
We drove the Top Mesa trail and saw older ruins that were covered to be preserved.
The overlooks were EPIC! You could see all sorts of cliff dwellings like Cliff Palace, Mummy House, Sun Temple and more.
We saw a rare plant called the Cliff Palace Milk Vetch.
There is another plant called the Utah Service Berry that is really pretty with white flowers. We have been smelling all the flowers and this one smelled like FISH STICKS! EWWW!
This is Cliff Palace. It is the largest of all the dwellings. To get to their farm land on top of the mesa they had hand and toe holds in the walls of the canyon that they climbed up. If you killed a deer, guess how you got it down? You had to carry it on your back down the canyon wall using the toe and hand holds! ACK!
We hiked up to the highest point in the park before we headed home for the night.
The final morning at Mesa Verde we hiked the Far Sites and saw even more dwellings but these were on TOP of the mesa versus in the cliffs.
It was a wee bit chilly outside.
We got our jackets and headed for a tour of Balcony House.
We had to climb through tunnels and up ladders to get to a makeshift entrance.
One of the ladders was 30 feet high!!!
I was zipping up the ladders like they were nothing. If you look back there is nothing behind you!
We toured the Balcony House and even walked out to the cliff edge.
Behind me is smaller ladder that we had to climb and then go up the rock walls and up another small ladder.
The ranger was great and we found out she will be working at Yellowstone in a few weeks when we get there!
It was neat to see the ceilings and imagine how people lived in such an extreme environment.
We earned our Junior Ranger badges after completing our books and exploring the park.