Blogs from Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, United States, North America


Today we were up early so that we could get to the Mesa Verde visitor center when they opened to help the staff dig up 2 more tickets for one of the dwelling tours since our luck ran out the day before. Or at least hoping they had found 2 more. It was about an hours drive to the park and we arrived right at 8 am. But we were not the only ones there at opening time. There was already a line for tour tickets. We followed the small crowd and took our place in the queue. After about fifteen minutes I heard the park staff say to someone “not going to happen” in reference to a guest needing 2 tickets for today. I then realized they had a screen displaying the tour times and ... read more

Tuesday morning, we had a fairly early hike, and with the drive up to the Mesa, another 45 minutes, made our departure time even earlier. I was a little concerned that there might be ice on the road as it was only in the 20’s but roads were clear. For those who haven’t been to Mesa Verde, the mesa drive is so beautiful. There are pull-outs that look over the valley, pull-outs that look over the canyons one each side, and in some stretches, there is a drop off on each side with only the road visible. I found myself looking for ruins in alcoves within the canyon walls. For this day we had a hike into a site we’d never visited before, “Long House”. “Long House” is a different hike, 2 hours in total which ... read more
View to the left
View to the right
Ladders visible are where we enter the rear of the site

Instead of playing in New Mexico on Sunday morning, we drove off to beat the storm. At least we hoped we were beating it. We wanted to get to Mesa Verde in Colorado where there was no rain in the forecast. Driving north we always love driving by the “Earthship Homes” in New Mexico and someday we will stop so I can shoot photos of the fun homes. We know we are on the right road when we pass by the homes. As we started over the pass we discovered that snow had already fallen, fortunately, the roads were not slick. It did snow for a bit while driving but mostly we left it behind after the pass. We did see so many beautiful trees in full fall colors and I was having Dale stop every ... read more
Balcony House
Balcony House
Looking down from the path we just climbed up

Dianne had rearranged our schedule so we wouldn’t be arriving at Mesa Verde on the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. A good plan. The National Park campground was listed as First-Come, First-Served. We got there early but when Dianne asked for 4 nights, she was told we could have Thursday and Friday but Saturday and Sunday were booked solid. Huh? What about First-Come, First-Served? It appears you still have to have a reservation but the reserved sites are handed out First-Come, First-Served. First time we have seen that. The woman at the desk did provide us with a reference to a commercial campground just outside the park that was actually quite nice. More about that later. Mesa Verde National Park One thing I found out about Mesa Verde after we were well into this trip is that ... read more
Life saver
View from the mesa
Far View Terrace

With the cooking class over it was time to move on to Mesa Verde. In 2006 my dad, who was still with us, told me about 2 hikes that had opened up, one being to Mug House. We’d planned a grandkids trip with our 6,8,9 and 10-year old grandkids to the southwest so Mesa Verde was on the way. We bought tickets for the hikes and on we went. Unfortunately, I was using a small point and shoot and the camera card crashed after our trip so any photos, good or bad, were lost. Several weeks ago, we were in Great Basin on a grandkids trip when I ran into retired rangers. As we were talking they mentioned that the trip to Mug House had just opened for tours but was only taking a few people ... read more
Mug House
Designs inside the Kiva
View to the left side

Neither Antonio nor I sleep very well last night. I am still trying to find a job and things are taking much longer than we had anticipated. If I don’t have something lined up soon he will probably have to stay in the U.S. for a few weeks, or fly back after we arrive, in order to process his settlement visa application. The realities of being separated for a few weeks weigh heavy. We are up shortly after 5am and get the kids ready for breakfast in the hotel. Another complimentary continental breakfast is included, and by now I can recite the menu by rote. AJ is under the weather and doesn’t want to eat which is quite unlike him. We are on the road by 6.45 am and the morning is cool and overcast. We ... read more
Cliff Palace 2
Cliff Dwelling 2
Kids enjoying the tour

Today we drove from Santa Fe to Mesa Verde National Park via Pagosa Springs and Durango, CO. We traveled 262 miles in about 6 hours (we stopped in Durango to have a picnic). The best part about the drive was the scenery. The worst part about the drive was the traffic and construction in Durango. When we arrived at Mesa Verde, the first thing we did was explore the Mesa Top Sites. Ancestral Puebloans lived in Mesa Verde starting around 550 A.D. until about 1250 A.D. In the Mesa Top Sites you can see how their architectural style evolved from pithouses dug into the ground to 50-room cliff dwellings. We're looking forward to tomorrow when we depart for Moab, UT and Arches National Park. ... read more
Square Tower House Overlook
Sun Temple

The sheer size of Mesa Verde National Park is awe inspiring. The park includes 4,500 archeological sites; only 600 are cliff dwellings. Needless to say, we only explored a fraction of these on the day we visited. Some of us were braver than others, exploring both the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace on guided tours, We had booked on the Twilight photography tour of Cliff Palace which was a much better time to get photographs as there were less people and the lighting was much better then rather than struggling with the glare of the hot sun reflecting off the rocks. It had started to cool off a little bit too. Some history: "About AD 550, some of the people living in the Four Corners region, decided to move onto the Mesa Verde. For over ... read more
Cliff Palace.
Cliff Palace dwellings
Dwelling houses.

Day 3 & 4 Yesterday was a fairly brief day. I drove past Shiprock, uh, rock on US64. At the town of Shiprock city I turned north onto US 491for the first time. It was brief. At the city of Cortez I took a brief stop and visited Walmart to purchase a few vital pieces of equipment. The big one being a nice comfy pillow. Mission accomplished. I did notice next door an Indian natural remedy establishment so I said "what the heck" and entered. The staff was very helpful (and very happy) and showed me all types of herbal teas. The teas had odd names such as cookie dough, rainbow blast, etc. I was tempted to get some cookie dough tea as I really wanted to see how it tasted but alas I don't have ... read more
Atop of Mesa Verde looking north
Still alive (my hair is BAD underneath the cap)
Endangered Spruce Tree House

There I was rummaging around in my trusty ruckspack and thought what's this ??? And pulled out my little mouse which as you remember I thought had run away with the squirrels in Bryce , so obviously he got caught in the zip and pulled off and fell into the rucksack and he hadn't abandoned me ... Beeny was very pleased to have his little companion back!! And so back on the road again into Colorado we go on to Mesa Verde - yes mesa is table and verde is green in Spanish but somehow I hadn't imagined that this would be a huge Mesa covered in vegetation ... Trees , shrubs green stuff . We had got so used to seeing bare rock scenery that this was a surprise . Mesa Verde is the place ... read more

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