Mesa Verde NP 05/17/16


This park was created to preserve human history. The only one in the NPS.

2 Sculpture of an indian mother and child going home. They climbed the cliffs many times every day.

Topology of the area.


The first road into the park was the 'Knife edge road' which ran right along here. Glad they have a new road for us.


Enjoying a bit of sunshine before the exploration begins.


The cliffs look like a fortress.

7 Narrow trail for us modern people.
8 To reach the cliff dwellings, you have to use the rickety old ladders.

Climbing from room to room in the Balcony House. Note how well the bricks were formed and how they have held up over 700 years.


See the ladder to get to the foot holds?


Great construction at all the sites.


Most cliff dwellings don't have a balcony. The guess is that this was an early daycare center. Don't want the kids falling off the sheer cliff.


This was somebody's living space for the entire family.

14 Good shot of a hand to toe trail. Indian highway in their time.

Look for the bricked up doorway in the middle of the photo. They guess one side just didn't like the neighbors and did this.

16 A narrow passage between dwellings.

A kiva, subterranean place of worship. Indians thought the spirits lived deep underground. Exactly opposite of our beliefs.


The black on the walls was caused by controlled fire, cooking fires. The pink is uncontrolled fire, like the place burned down.

19 These are not windows, they are doors. When these were occupied, they were covered with animal hide.

Must have been a food prep area. See the three corn grinders in the pit?

Hanhan wants to try life as a pueblo woman. Then again, maybe not.

22 To enter, you climb a ladder. To leave, you have to climb to the mesa top. Good protection from animals and enemies.

Many tourists can't do this tour because you have to fit through this narrow tunnel. Luckily, I hadn't eaten yet this day.

24 The Cliff Palace, largest and best preserved of all the dwellings in the park.
25 A pit house. Very early (500 AD) dwelling. These had a wood and mud roof, but they have faded into history now.
26 They all have a alcove room for storage. The fire pit was centrally located. The family lived around the sides of the dwelling.

Indian condos! At some point the population was large enough that they had to build upwards.

A close up of a room in one of the dwellings. See the other door to the right?

Because there was no written language, nobody really knows what this was used for. Only guesses. What's yours?

'Window' House. Eleven rooms squeezed between two layers of rock.

31 The Sun Temple. Left unfinished when the Indians moved away.

The mesa top has trees now. When the indians lived here all would have been bare for farming and keeping animals.

33 A skyscraper, four stories!
34 All the pinkish rock shows that a wildfire has been through this area.

This area is open to use without a guided tour. We can actually touch items here.

36 A reconstructed pit house. See how it was built?

Everywhere you look there are ruins. Only a few have been maintained and opened to the public.

A good example of where they built. Always in an alcove right under the lip of a cliff.

This entire alcove was given over to religious use. Very odd for the time.

A multilevel site. See the hand to toe trail between levels?

41 Another look at the hand to toe trail. Imagine using this to visit friends or to get a meal.

Population growth made for packed development. Water was a much sought after thing and where there was 'easy' access to water, people wanted to live there.

Petroglyphs. No language, but they still wanted to express thoughts and feelings.

This kiva had burned down. Most did this regualary, fire inside a wood roof isn't the best. See the charred wood left from different disasters?

45 A corncob from 700 years ago. The desert dryness has preserved it.

This was a late kiva. See the well designed air intake?

A Western Tanager. Beautiful bird.

Some indians lived on top of the mesa. This was a living and working area. The raised structure is a supervisor's tower.

Another look at the top side dwellings. Each room was for one family.

Mesa top dwellings with a kiva for worship.

Mesa top 'apartments' Far View village.