Day Fourtythree
Day Fourtythree

Durango, CO to Mesa Verde National Park, CO
July 25th, 2004

High Point of the Day....
Low Point of the Day......
Brian - A low 80 degree day in the desert
Theresa - The ladder into Balcony House
Brian - It's all good
Theresa - A late afternoon headache
Miles Traveled Today
Total Miles Traveled
Miles Theresa Drove
0 (3207 total)
Sunny in the morning, overcast in the afternoon, high in the low 80s
Price of Gas 
(average per gallon)
Night's Lodging
Where this Page was Uploaded
Deer and lizards
Morefield Campground
Cortez, CO

Daily Didactic
Our morning began in Durango, on a Sunday, with a question. We've never been one to let the bus's ailments stop the three of us (Brian, Theresa and the bus) from moving on, if we could help it. We had hoped to be in Mesa Verde National Park today looking at cliff dwellings and hiking about. So the question was, "How far can the bus go without an alternator, but with a fully charged battery?" The good news is, at least 98 miles...

We broke camp and headed back through Durango, toward Cortez and Mesa Verde. The 35 mile drive to the park's entrance was uneventful, despite a thought provoking seven mile hill climb out of Durango. The park road past the entrance was a very windy climb up to Morefield Campground. We were able to secure one of a half dozen "hookup" sites (important, given we will need to be battery charging again tonight) and deployed Camp Roadtrip. All things going "so far, so good", we tooled on up the park road to Far View Visitor Center and purchased two tickets for each of the three Park Ranger guided cave dwelling tours. Mesa Verde is a park with a lot of things, but folks come here to see the huge ancient Pueblo cave dwellings. The ranger tours are a real deal at two and a half dollars a head for an hour tour. We secured tickets for Balcony House and the Cliff Palace today, and the Long House tomorrow morning. We grabbed a bite of lunch and headed south to Balcony House. The dwellings are just amazing and the pictures probably are as close as we can come to describing anything. Balcony House was the "adventure" tour, because it started with a 32 foot ladder, and was the most intact of the two today. Cliff Palace was enormous, apparently consisting of 140+ rooms, and was absolutely fascinating.

Minds all stretched from the two guided tours, we headed to the museum (as the stern park ranger who sold us our tickets had instructed us to do). Sadly, Theresa realized her mind had been stretched into a headache and we headed back to camp for a little of Brian's gourmet cooking and, eventually, a late walk around our little campground mesa.

Daily Pictures (Slide Show)

The bus waking up in Durango The road to Mesa Verde, turns out it goes right up on top of that plateau
The park entrance, at the bottom of the windy climb up the plateau Looking back down
The secret behind one of our favorite building techniques from last trip, we like to call it ''fauxdobe'' Theresa, using her ''sense of touch''
The ladder up to our first cliff dwelling, Balcony House Energetic and informative, our Interpretive Guide Gretel
Tourists in ruins Looking down into a kiva
Looking back across Balcony House A sense of scale, the dwelling is on the upper right edge of the plateau
A close up Up on top of the mesa, heading to our second cliff dwelling
Looking down at Cliff Palace Guiding our second tour, serious Park Ranger Jean
There are petroglyphs everywhere, here aluminum recycling petroglyphs The nicely round Far View Visitor Center
Brian whips up some gourmet camp dining. Orange food, yum! Moon over the mesa from Morefield Campground
Pretty sky beyond the valley

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