Mesa Verde National Park

There are so many photos of this iconic location one can look at.  Along with the photos are excellent explanations of the history, the archeology, and the struggles to save the ancient cultures.  Still, we realized we wanted to see it for ourselves.  We are not adding any new images to the vast collection already out there.  But, we share because we always do and my recommendation is that if you can make it to see for yourself what the ancient cliff dwellings were like you should do so.  They are quite impressive in many ways.

This is a classic composition.  There is a tour in progress (people on the right).  The alcove is about 215 feet wide by about 90 feet deep and 60 feet high.  The site includes 150 rooms, 75 constructed open areas, and 21 kivas.  The construction occurred from about AD 1190 to AD 1280 and was inhabited by about 100 to 120 people.

Tom's take on the site.

This is the House of Many Windows (our research suggested that these are really doors).  It can be spotted along the main Cliff Palace Loop.  It is hard to find from across the canyon and each person shares with a new arrival just where to look.  Using a long lens, a high megapixel and then using extreme cropping . . . can you spot the structure (right in the middle of the photo)?

This is the Hemenway House named after Mary Tileston Hemenway.  She financially supported the first archeological research in the southwest.  While Mary never visited Mesa Verde, this site
memorializes her contribution to our understanding of the ancient Puebloans.

This is the Spruce Tree House, also located on the main loop.  In fact, this dwelling can be seen from right behind the bookstore and museum (short walk).  This structure is considered unsafe and tours are not offered of this location.

Tom's take on Spruce Tree House. 

This structure houses a very interesting and informative museum.  Tom insisted that I go in and look at the dioramas that had been created to show what life was like for the Puebloans during the time period the cliff dwellings were built.  Very worth it as you can see below.

One of 5 dioramas in the museum.  The bookstore next door is very good and has some really good books on photography in the southwest.

Of course, there is much more to Mesa Verde than the cliff dwellings.  I found the location to be fascinating in its isolation and seemingly impossible access.  Yet this area supported large communities.

In the spring, the residents of Mesa Verde could have enjoyed great panoramas of snow capped mountains.

There have been many fires on the mesa in recent decades.  The park identifies the fire damaged areas by name and provides the year that the fire took place.  The trees still standing give the area an eerie feeling.  Tom called these the 'hugging trees'.  I can see them as the 'dancing trees'.

This path leads to the Badger House and very early dwellings that are now covered by structures with metal roofs and walls, making their spaces dreary and dark.  The dwellings, while historically interesting are dismal photographic opportunities.

A gorgeous yucca along the path.

I am not a birder!  I don't even know if this bird was the cause of my frustration.  So, here is my story and I am sticking to it.  We got out of our car and headed to the information desk, an outside tented operation.  There were some birds calling back and forth, back and forth.  They sounded like they were right above me in any number of nearby trees.  I could not for the life of me find a bird.  Not a one.  They were so, so, so loud.  I am calling them Bullhorn Birds!!!  It was driving me crazy not to be able to see where the sounds were coming from.  I think this is one of them!  I will wait for my birding friends to tell me if this bird is capable of making a complex call and projecting it as though it has a bullhorn!!  Besides, I like the way this bird parts its head feathers.  Very stylish!!

Lovely long curvy drive up and down the mesa.  I can barely imagine how ancient people navigated such terrain.

Thanks for joining us.