Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Balcony House - Mesa Verde National Park

I have heard of Mesa Verde from everyone - a must see, do-not-miss type of warning. And they were right - it's an amazing National Park. It has been on my list since before I set out.

When I got to the Durango area, I found the campground where two of my fellow solo female RVer were staying. We have been meeting up off and on when our paths cross. It just so happened that the day I got there was their last day at that camp.  When I arrived that morning, they invited me to go to Mesa Verde for the day. Sure - sounded good to me!


The park covers a large territory and the roads wind up and down the mountainsides. We had time to do only one tour - Balcony House. At the appointed time, there were about 20 or so people gathered for the tour. After a short briefing, we started down into the canyon by a series of steel stairways. The trail was only a quarter of a mile long, but during that time, we climbed a 32' double ladder to the first rooms. This photo of the ladder was taken after everyone had safely arrived at the top.

The next area was visible through a window between the two living areas.

After a briefing about the first area and the construction, the next area was accessed by a skinny tunnel......

The next area contained two kivas, areas that had multiple purposes in the puebloan peoples' lives - ceremonies and socializing. Kivas are always round and sunken. When they were in use, they had ceilings.

During their construction of all these cliff dwellings, they used the existing rock formations and caves as part of their construction, as seen below.

This was the final area of this little neighborhood and we had to exit through a tunnel. This tunnel was so small, we all had to crawl through it, only a few feet until we could stand and then another crawl area for a few feet.

After that, the fun continues, there were steep steps carved into a rock heading up the hill. These had been carved over 800 years ago. They are so steep that, to prevent mishaps, the park has installed heavy chain railings and a safety net on the downhill side.

After a couple of short ladders, the tour was over. Such a great place, such an experience to see how these people lived more than 800 years ago. For some reason, they moved out in 1200 - no one seems to know why.


I will be back to do more of their tours of the cliff dwellings and to further explore the park. There is much more to see here.


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