Sunday, August 4, 2013

Trip heights and highlights at Mesa Verde

post #149
      I am at last home again in Kentucky -- it's not too humid, not too hot, the deer are eating our apples as they fall, the chickens are still laying eggs, and company's coming. Sounds like it's still summer!
      One of my best ideas during this recent family visit was to give my camera to my son, Eric, during our big outing to see the cliff dwellings of the ancestral Pueblo people at Mesa Verde National Park, near Cortez, Colorado.  I can sometimes zone out while taking photos and I don't pay full attention to every step I take.... It occurred to me that this would be neither the time nor place to do that!  I also realized that my son did not have a small child to look after during this tour, and he might enjoy taking some photos for a change.  He has a good eye.  He accepted my offer, and today I'm proud to post nine of the photos he took during our visit to the Balcony House.  I am also proud that I made it safely from one end of the tour to the other.  In addition to being challenging, it is indeed fascinating to experience the place up close and personal.
our fearless, informative and funny guide

two dwellings, one better made, side by side

looking through to the kiva area  (see later photo of the photographer)

the discovery of the extra large first aid "kit"!!!

squeezing through....
Did I say heights?!?  Nowhere to go except up!  A whole population lived like this for over 100 years, without any of the metal fences, of course.  My understanding is that during the previous 600 years they had lived nearby but not in the cliffs.

       Eric's cousin, Daniel, was also taking photos and video.  I am next including several of his images as well.  Thank you both so much!
on our way to the kiva area, through the dark passageway on the right

Eric getting an image of the kiva "room".
see square opening in the above photo....

This kiva would have had a timber roof.  To me, without one, the space looks more like a pit.  While we imagined the fires and cooking in this place as well as its ceremonial role in community life, the guide walked along the outside wall!  The brochure says "In modern Pueblo communities the kiva is still an important ceremonial structure."

        Driving to and from the park took two hours each way from where we were staying. Since we had three small children with us, we didn't have time to go on any of the other tours.  But we were all so glad to have been to Mesa Verde.   

      Note: George Ella Lyon's picture book, Dreamplace, went with us. too.  George Ella had visited there as a child.  The illustrator, Peter Catalanotto, got permission to be in the park at dawn as he researched the paintings he would be doing.  That way he was there before other tourists were allowed in, so he was able to see the early light and experience the place quietly. 

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