Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 8 Mesa Verde NP, CO

Mesa Verde NP, CO - a heart pounding, white knuckle, 40 min., 20 mile,
2,000 ft drive to the top and then knowing you have to go back down & have brakes to stop when you reach the bottom.

Wanda took alot of pictures on the way up to keep from panicing over the sheer drop at the edge of a cliff with no guard rails.

...And they were rebuilding the road, 10 miles of gravel & chewed up asphalt. We've also kept a list of tunnels we go thru - this is # 11.

We bought tickets for the Cliff Palace ranger tour but when Wanda saw the height , she passed, so I went down.

This was one of the easy sections going down, at least here's a hand rail.

How did the Anasazi carry all the rocks & timbers up & down the cliff to build all this?

Cliff Palace was the largest of the cliff dwellings with about 150 inhabitants.

Views from both ends of the complex. Incredible, they could do all this on the edge & under a cliff .

The way back up from Cliff Palace.

A Kiva at Cliff Palace. During ritual ceremonies, the fire burned in the center pit & fresh air was drawn down thru the square hole and was diverted by the small wall so the sparks & smoke would exit the roof hole rather than in your face.
The trail down to Spruce Tree House was paved and a decent grade with alot of switchbacks.

The entrance to the kiva from Spruce Tree House.

Imagine 3 women on their knees for hours every day grinding the corn with the Mano & Metate'

Wanda made it down to Spruce House & back , although we both suffered a bit from the high altitude, the park ranger said at this elevation - 7700', there's 1/2 the Oxygen in the air.

I took alot of pictures in the museum of artifacts about housing,
jewelry, pottery, baskets
and balnkets, etc. to use for school power points (NCSCOS Goal 1.02-.03, etc.).

This traditional sand painting shows the migration patterns of the clans from the center of the universe to the 4 cardinal points, where they turned to return. The Swaztika symbol has been used by a wide variety of cultures; Sumerian, Mayan, Greek, etc., but only one culture made it evil.

We stopped at the Anaszi Heritage Center-Canyon of the Ancients Nat. Mon. Visitor Center just before they closed. We got our NPS Stamps and talked with some great folks who advised us not to go to the Four Corners Monument. It's 100 miles out of our way and there is no guarantee that it will be open since it's on the Navaho Reservation and they live on " Rez Time" which means they open when & if the want. They did give me an alternate backcountry drive to Natural Bridges tommorrow.

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