Saturday, October 6, 2012

Star-Spangled Journey: Mesa Verde's Cliff Dwelling in Colorado

View of the surroundings in Mesa Verde

We made the long trip from Albuquerque to Colorado to see the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo People (or the Anasazi) in Mesa Verde. This national park was established  through the efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt.

We made our first stop at the Far View Visitor Center to purchase our tickets. (No, not Fairview, QC.)

Since we will only be staying in Mesa Verde for a few hours, we decided to buy tickets to the Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling.

Our ranger/tour guide at the Cliff Palace

We took the guided tour of the Cliff Palace which ran for about an hour. Prior to touring the Cliff Palace, the ranger announced some warnings such as the tour is not for the faint-hearted or those with respiratory problems and that we must be prepared for the hike by wearing the proper apparel. 

My Mom opted not to join the tour and decided to wait for us at the parking area. And I thought I would not be allowed to the tour 'coz I was not properly geared up. While the rest of the tourists had their hiking boots on, I was wearing my ever-trusted Grendha slippers up high in that plateau on a drizzling, cold day. I wasn't really prepared. I thought we were just going to do a simple walk in the park thing.

Elevated at 7,000 feet

So our female ranger gave us a briefer on Mesa Verde and the Pueblo People that lived here. We couldn't go down yet to the dwelling as we had to wait the batch that went before us to be done with their own tour.

Imagine this place as a dwelling for a large number of people, estimated at about a hundred. I was wondering how they could all fit in such a small place. The Cliff Palace consisted of one hundred and fifty (150) rooms and twenty-three (23) kivas (circular sunken rooms).

The ranger also helped us get inside the palace tower which is said to contain art works of the pueblo people on its walls.

Did you know that back in high school, I fancied myself as an archeologist and anthropologist?  I was into history, and studying different societies and evolution of cultures and coming into close contact with artifacts appealed to me then. In fact, the two were among the courses I was considering in my UPCAT application. Well, it still does appeal to me now that is why I make time to at least visit a museum when I am in a new place or immerse myself in the community when traveling.

An archeologist at work

Once the 6o minutes was up, it was time for us to get out of the dwelling by climbing the very steep vertical (not  slightly angled) ladder. It can be a challenge especially for those who are afraid of heights. But it was not a problem in my case.

The Climb

View of Mesa Verde on our way out of the park.

To know more about Mesa Verde and the Cliff Palace, you may check out their website: Mesa Verde

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Thank you for visiting Traipsing Chronicles. I hope you will continue walking with me as I wander and see the world. Cheers!

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