Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mesa Verde National Park

When I was a small child, my parents bought a set of books that were sold weekly in the grocery store. One was about paleontologists. Another showed a picture of Mesa Verde's Cliff Palace. I grew up, went to school, and became an Earth Science teacher with a degree in Geology. I took my students on field trips, collected fossils and still do today. Yesterday Renita and I toured the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park. Bless you Mom and Dad.

We arrived in Cortez on Sunday, and set up at Sundance Rv Park. The next day we went to the Welcome Center and then drove out to the park. We hadn't planned on touring any ruins, only figuring out possible things to do. However it worked out we ended up going on the Cliff Palace Tour.

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in the desert southwest. The only other tour open, at this time of year was Balcony House which involved a thirty foot climb on a wooden ladder. This was not attractive to Renita. We bought tickets for the Cliff Palace and it ended up a great choice.

The tour was packed with 60 people and one ranger so we used "Spanish rules" and made sure we had great viewing spots on the tour,(When we traveled to Spain with the kids we went to a town fiesta in Segovia. When the food was set on the table everyone rushed it with no lines or order. We called this chaos, Spanish rules.).

The wood in the ruins was actually from 1200ad. You can see the tags where it has been removed for dendrochronology. Renita overheard a Hopi women on the tour who stated that the round rooms were not Kivas, or ceremonial rooms, disputing the rangers lecture. I asked about any cut marked bones found at the sight, but the ranger said she was not going to answer as there were Hopi's on the tour. Apparently the park service is treading water as usual........

We finished the tour by climbing up a series of steps and wooden ladders. The ladders seemed well used to me but held my weight. We drove out, stopping and viewing several other cliff houses. A fine day. Clear skies.

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