Mesa Verde Nat'l Pk-Archaeology & Cliff Dwellings

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Thursday, September 18, 2008

  We spent today exploring Mesa Verde National Park, which is the only National Park dedicated totally to archeological sites.   Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States, and they offer a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo (aka Anasazi) people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. 
  Greg and I challenged ourselves and bought tickets for the ranger-led tour down (waaay down!) to Cliff Palace, the largest of the cliff dwellings.  This one-hour, ranger-guided tour involves climbing rock-carved steps and  five, 8-10ft (2 ladders, on a 100ft (30m) vertical climb...many of the stairways are squeezed into rock crevices that I'd swear we couldn't really get through...and, after the tour of Cliff Palace - we had to climb back up - another series of rock-carved steps and ladders!  Whew!  But it was worth it to examine the dwellings close up, and to think of the difficulties the 100+ people who lived there must have faced every single day. 
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