Mesa Verde National Park

Published: June 3rd 2013
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May 29 - Mesa Verde National Park – I arrived at Mesa Verde National Park yesterday evening and so most of the useful and helpful information about the park is posted in my previous blog for May 28. I have also added some more information to it. Most of the added information is near the end of the blog. So if you want to read that information go to my previous blog and then come back here for today’s blog.

It was a bit brisk in the park last night. I had chosen a good campsite though and it was quiet with considerate campers nearby. I drove from the campsite to the camp store and got some coffee and got on the internet a bit to check in on things. Then I drove back towards the park entrance over several switchbacks and quite scenic views to the visitor’s center. The main thing I learned at the visitors center was if I had stopped on the way in it was worth it but it wasn’t worth the trip to and back from the campsite to it. I do enough climbing and going down switchback roads in Colorado already to suit me without seeking out more.

Most people don’t seem to be aware that you can book tours at the Rangers Station next to the camp store from 7AM to 11 AM. They seem to think that tours have to be booked at the visitor’s center. When I mentioned this to the people at the visitor’s center they were surprised as well. They checked into it and found out the information was correct. This really wasn’t something new to me as almost everywhere I go I know more than the people who work there as I do my homework before I go. Hardly anyone takes time to properly train people anymore and most employees just want a job and do hardly any homework on improving their performance after they get the job. That is where I have always been and always will be the exception. I always keep on trying to learn more about what I am involved in.

But I digress.

After checking out the visitor’s center I drove back over all the switchbacks and on into the park taking in the views as I went. I stopped at the Far View Terrace to eat and got what they called a Navajo Taco. It might have been better if it was a bit warm but it wasn’t. I just ate as much as I could stomach just to “put something in the hole”. I should have brought some cheese and crackers to snack on instead. They did have a sandwich bar so maybe I should have eaten that.

After eating at the Far View Terrace I drove on to the Chapin Mesa Museum and checked out the museum and the overlook for the Spruce Tree House. I was content with the view from the trail above it and didn’t see any reason for going down and climbing back out of the canyon at 7000ft (2134m). I could see it well enough from the trail.

After this I drove back on the Cliff Palace Loop and checked out the Cliff Palace from the overlook. I have actually been on the Cliff Palace tour last time I came to Mesa Verde and so just enjoyed the view from the overlook. I probably would have went down again if I could have done so on my own but don’t like being part of a tour. I like setting my own pace and moving on or stopping at my leisure.

After taking a good long look at the Cliff Palace I drove along on the Cliff Palace Loop with frequent stops to check out other cliff dwellings along the canyon. There were several.

When I got to the Balcony House site there was nothing to see but a canyon. You cannot see the balcony house from the starting point for the Balcony House tours but about ¼ mile further along the road there is a turnout from which you can hike down to a location where you can see it.

I continued on along the Cliff Palace Loop and then eased my way back to the Morefield Campground. I had decided I would take a nap and then in a bit ease back to the camp Laundromat to get on the internet. That worked out OK until some father (I guess the mother stayed home because the kids kept shouting for Dad) with several kids moved into the campsite next door. He must have had a whole herd of kids over there. They were running through the brush and even into my campsite shouting all the time to each other or “Dad”.

After a bit I gave up on my nap and started the truck and headed to the Laundromat so as to get on the internet. When I passed by his site it was like a scene out of a movie. “Dad” was standing on the table with his hand as far into the air as he could reach holding up his cell phone. He had 3 kids standing around the table looking up at him and 2 more running amuck in his SUV. I don’t know how many more he may have had running amuck in the brush. I don’t know if his upraised hand was an appeal to the Gods or he was trying to get a cell signal so he could call in “Mom” for a rescue.

In any case I went to the Laundromat and the table only had one woman at it so I set my computers up on the other end of the table and charged my cell phone as well. I didn’t get any signal but I guess it didn’t hurt to charge it up since I had the chance.

Other people came in and out and after a bit we struck up a conversation and all of us had a pleasant chat. The woman at the other end of the table was a solo traveler as well and she was from Minnesota. I asked her if she blogged about her travels and she said she didn’t so I told her she should. I gave her my Travel Blog information if she wanted to check out my blogs. I also told her I would be back in Denver in a few days and if she went through there in a few days to send me a comment on my travel blog and we could meet for coffee if she wished and exchange stories. Sad to say I have to date received no such comment………sigh.

In any case at about 11:30 a Ranger with a pistol on his hip came in and checked to see if everyone there was staying in the campground. I must say that although I had not felt in any danger of any kind it was still nice to see that they were keeping an eye on things.

After I finished catching up on everything I wanted to do I eased
Navajo TacoNavajo TacoNavajo Taco

It would have been better if it was a bit warm.
back to the campground. I figured correctly that all the little munchkins in the adjoining campsite would have gone to bed by now and this proved to be correct. I ate a bowl of Raisin Bran and went to bed.

Tomorrow I would head to Pagosa Springs and enjoy their hot springs and scenic beauty there.

Additional photos below
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View between Visitor center and campgroundView between Visitor center and campground
View between Visitor center and campground

This picture taken from turnout on switchbacks between visitor center and Morefield Campground.

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