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Monday, 28 September 2015

800-year old Native Ruins at Mesa Verde, Colorado

The Spruce Tree House complex

This trip is just flying by, with high-spots day after day. I'm pretty much going to let the pictures do the talking. We arrived at Mesa Verde, in south-western Colorado, after a long drive from Denver, which we spread over two days. We camped among scrubby oak trees and set about exploring the many sights (and sites) that are scattered along a 40-50-mile loop on the mesa top, most of the ancient dwellings being found in the bluffs that line the canyon. These are settlements created by the Anasazi, forebears of the present-day Pueblo and Hopi peoples who abandoned the area around 1250 A.D. for reasons that are still the subject of speculation and moved into the Rio Grande Valley - and, in the case of the Hopi, N.E. Arizona..

Thousand-year-old petroglyphs on the canyon wall.

The rock at Mesa Verde is a soft sandstone, very susceptible to weathering by rain, ice and wind, so you see some wonderfully weird formations.

Here and there are marks made by the ancients as they sharpened their stone axes.

Accessing many of the abandoned settlements requires a certain fitness - and, it seems, a weight limit. Or should I say girth. This passage was a tight fit, even for me.

As ever in the National Parks, we had a Ranger (that's her, on the left) who knew her stuff, conveyed it clearly, audibly and accurately - and wasn't afraid to go out on the edge.

Personally, I'm not a fan of high places, and although the several ladders we had to climb were sturdy, this one left me feeling a little bit wobbly.

I'm playing catch-up here. I want to send out pictures of last night's lunar eclipse, an account of our delightful lunch with the G.O.M. of Chicano Lit, Rudy Anaya, and of course our fantastic couple of days at Chaco Canyon. I'll do my best, although it's only an hour or two before we hit the Georgia O'Keeffe gallery in Santa Fe.

The Cliff Palace, viewed from the far side of the canyon

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