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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
1st Jul 2015 - Summer 2015
Day 31-July 1, 2015-Mesa Verde National Park

Day 31-July 1, 2015-Mesa Verde National Park

Hot again…92 at 8500’ altitude.  Very windy last night.

Started the day with breakfast at the hotel restaurant.

Drove about 20 miles to the entrance of Mesa Verde National Park.  From there it’s another 28 miles up a windy road with spectacular views and overlooks and one tunnel to get to where all the interesting things are.  Mesa Verde was established in 2008 as the only National Park to preserve the works of people.  The people are the Ancestral Puebloans who built cliffs in the side of sandstone mountains from 1150 to 1300 AD. They farmed on the mesa above and lived in the cliff dwellings they build below.  The highest point if 8572’ at Park Point Overlook where there’s a fire tower.  There’s a lodge and restaurant and amphitheater on the way up too.

The route we took was Chapin Mesa Loop-a driveable loop that had overlooks at some of the dwellings built into the cliffs.  We were on top of the mesa so you had to climb down steep metal steps to get to the dwellings.  Usually a ranger had to go with you on a guided tour.  There were overlooks from above which we opted to go for instead of the strenuous climb.  The first stop was Cliff Palace-150 rooms built under a mesa overhang that probably housed about 100 people.  It was discovered in 1888 by farmers looking for lost cattle.  The rooms are made of sandstone that they shaped into bricks.  The rooms were quite intricate and efficient. The House of Many Windows was viewed from across the canyon-all you could see was four “windows” in the side of the cliff, but they said there are rooms behind those windows.  Balcony House can only be viewed by climbing down and it’s quite a hike.  Spruce Tree House is the most well preserved.  It can be viewed at the same area as where the wonderful museum is.  A video explained most of what there was to see, where these people came from, how they lived, etc., etc.  The museum had five rooms of artifacts, dioramas, tools, baskets, pottery, knives, etc. to give you a feeling of the every day life of these cliff dwellers. They believe that a 24 year drought made these farmers abandon the dwellings and they went down south to Arizona and New Mexico to join other tribes.  This is still an active archaeological dig and they’re finding new dwellings all the time.  They feel there are about 4000 of them and that more people lived in this area in the 1200s than live here now.  We had lunch at one of the pull overs and then drove back down the hill.

We had planned on going to Guy Drew Winery in Cortez but it was too late by the time we got finished at the Park.  But there was a pottery shop that had a wine tasting bar from this winery and it turned out the owner and vintner, Guy Drew, did the tasting.  Nice man, originally from Tampa.

Back to the campground, the heat, altitude, walking and wine finally did me in.  Took a 20 minute break, then went to the hotel restaurant for a light dinner.  I felt better after the soup and salad bar, Harry had the fish and chips.  Tried our luck at the casino and came out $35.00 ahead.  Very windy again when we got back to the RV, but cooler.  Moving on again tomorrow.

Next: Day 32-July 2, 2015-To the Rockies
Previous: Day 30-June 30, 2015-Four Corners and Ute Mountain Casino

Diary Photos

Mesa Verde NP sign

Us at Overlook

View 6

Us at Mesa Verde Visitor Center

The road up


Spruce Tree House close up

One level of steps to go down


Cliff Palace

Many Windows (4)

Us at Spruce Tree House

Spruce Tree House

Harry on cliff

Road below

View 1

View 2

View 3

View 4

Senior Citizen

Diary Movies

Cliff Palace video

Fire Tower overlook video

Many windows video

Overlook video

Spruce Tree House

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