Day Fourtyfour
Day Fourtyfour

Mesa Verde National Park, CO to Mesa Verde National Park, CO
July 26th, 2004

High Point of the Day....
Low Point of the Day......
Brian - Long House
Theresa - The petroglyphs (not pictographs)
Brian & Theresa - Nope, sorry...
Miles Traveled Today
Total Miles Traveled
Miles Theresa Drove
0 (3207 total)
Sunny, overcast, in the high 80's
Price of Gas 
(average per gallon)
Night's Lodging
Where this Page was Uploaded
no fillup
Lots of deer and lizards
Morefield Campground
Durango, CO

Daily Didactic
Our day began an hour earlier than it needed to in order to get ourselves out to Weatherill Mesa for the Long House tour. We both misremembered the tour starting at 9:00, but it actually began at 10:00. Turns out they don't unlock the gate for the rustic twelve mile stretch of badly patched pavement until 9:00, so we got some coffee and poked around the mesa top (meaning "not on a cliff") Far View community ruins. The Ancestoral Pueblans were quite the builders. We've been told by three Park Service interpretive guides that "Ancestoral Pueblan" is now the correct term for the folks that built all of this. Up until very recently they were referred to as Anasazi, but someone has figured out that this actually translates to something rude and demeaning. This turns out to be a bit of a problem for everyone other than the interpretive tour guides, especially sign makers, book authors, and place namers. There is a lot of the word "Anasazi" around here.

We eventually got to the Long House tour parking lot, where our map says we were to catch a "tram". While that seemed pretty exciting, it seems "tram" can also mean small tourist cart on wheels. The Long House tour was longer than the other two, at an hour and a half, and Park Ranger Bennett was entertaining and very informative. Long House is the second largest dwelling to Cliff Palace, with 150 rooms. After the guided tour, we caught the "tram" on around the loop for photo ops of Long House and Kodak House. Again, just pretty amazing stuff to look at. After our "tram" ride, we climbed back in the bus and headed over for a second loop on Chapin Mesa that we had missed yesterday and stared at even more cliff dwellings.

At this point Theresa insisted it was time to leave our perfectly functional vehicle and walk around a five mile loop to look at some petroglyphs. We stopped just off the trail at Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling, the most intact of the dwellings and the only one you can get close to on your own, and poked around a bit. The hike out to Pictograph Point, which sports only petroglyphs, traversed the bottom edge of a sandstone cliff, with a number of alcoves and overhangs similar to where all the building went on, and then loops back along the ridge top. While the view from the hike was spectacular, the forming thunder clouds overhead were even more so, almost completely black. One thunder clap was so loud Brian jumped and Theresa ducked. It didn't actually start raining until we got back to the parking lot, so we ducked into the museum for a little more historical perspective and then hit the road back to camp. We are still not sure how it happened, but we misssed camp and found ourselves at a little brew pub in Cortez for dinner. We eventually found our way back to camp, started the battery recharging, and called it a night.

Daily Pictures (Slide Show)

Morning in Mesa Verde Alright, in fairness, it was a step to look over the wall. Be nice, she's testy about this one.
Far View village Ancient swirly petroglyph
The road to Weatherill Mesa Two thirds of the park has burned since 2000
Our only guided tour of the day, Long House cliff dwelling Animated, dramatic Park Ranger Bennett. He sang to us.
Brian in ruins The ''tram'' to scenic photo opportunities
Clearly, the best photo opportunity on the tram Looking back at Long House
Don't think the conversation hasn't come up Four Story Square House cliff dwelling
Inside the Sun Palace Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling
One of the best preserved walls in the park, in Spruce Tree House. Also, a kiva with it's roof on. A narrow passage on the way to Pictograph Point
Oddly enough, the only thing at ''Pictograph Point'' are these very cool petroglyphs An politically incorrect hopi symbol, a KOA company truck out front, it all adds up to good dinner

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