Daniel Tours America (c)DanielClarke.com Daniel Tours America - http://America.DanielClarke.com
My Blog My Photos My Diary My Movies My Map Message Board
Daniel Tours America
Cliff palace, Mesa Verde, CO
4th May 2008
Mesa Verde national Park, Colorado

[Sorry for the delay in this update.  I've been offline in the mountains for a few days. Yes I am alive, very well, and grateful for your concern.]


Sunday 4th

I spent a sleepless freezing cold night, waking every hour.  My body was warm but my face, the only part exposed by the sleeping bag, cold. I arose early to go to Mesa Verde, a national park up the road.  The feature of this park is a collection of hundreds of ancient dwellings, set into alcoves in cliffs, which used to be inhabited by Ancestral Pueblo peoples.  They're really quite breath-taking, particularly those that were for ceremonial use rather than inhabitation.

An interesting feature was the kiva, an underground circular hole that was then covered flush with the earth.  They all followed the same pattern of a central fire pit, a ventilator shaft with deflector, and a small holes in the roof (entry) and floor (symbolic connection with, or entry to, the underworld).
There was apparently quite a community on the mesa, with shared facilities such as a temple and food store.
The age of these dwellings if from about 550AD to 1300AD, when the entire area was suddenly, and mysteriously, evacuated.

I took two tours of the bigger features, Cliff Palace and Balcony House, and then did the driving tour of the mesa.  I felt quite lazy, driving for literally 50 metres before parking again to gawp, but there's not really any other way. The river and scenery was stunning too.

In the evening I drove into Utah to visit Arches National Park.  Another stunning drive, which again took a long time because of all the photo stops.  I pulled into the Arches park at about 7pm, and it took another half hour to drive to the campsite (giving you a scale of the place). Luckily there was room for me in the campsite, and I pitched right under a huge rock and just 50 yards from an arch.  I watched the slide show put on by the rangers, and made my DIY dinner (I had stocked-up on the way over).

Next: Arches national park, Utah
Previous: Four corners and the stunning deserts of New Mexico and Colorado

Diary Photos

Cliff palace, Mesa Verde, CO

Cliff palace, Mesa Verde, CO

Mesa and canyon, Mesa Verde, CO

Cliff palace detail, Mesa Verde, CO

Cliff palace detail, Mesa Verde, CO

Cliff palace detail, Mesa Verde, CO

Kiva, Mesa Verde, CO

Balcony House, Mesa Verde, CO

Canyon, Mesa Verde, CO

Corn grinders, Mesa Verde, CO

The climb out of balcony house, Mesa Verde, CO

Square tower, Mesa Verde, CO

Square tower detail, Mesa Verde, CO

Ladder, Mesa Verde, CO

Burned tree and mountains, Mesa Verde, CO

View over the valley from the mesa, CO

Prarie dog or some rodenta. Cortez, CO

Church rock, Utah

444 Words | This page has been read 30 timesView Printable Version