Mesa Verde

After the rafting trip we were eager to visit several of the outstanding National Parks in the region. After doing our laundry at Marble Canyon, where we reconnected with our car, we drove east to Four Corners (to snap the obligatory photo at the junction of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado).  A couple hours further east, we arrived at Mesa Verde National Park.

Mara views the Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde
Mara views the Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde

We stayed atop the mesa at the Farview Lodge in the center of the park, elevation about 8000′. This elevation was quite a change for us and we could feel it as we climbed and walked to the various cliffside dwellings. It was astonishing to think about how well these dwellings had survived for over 800 years, and to imagine the tenacity of the Ancestral Pueblo peoples who built them and made a life here back then.

The park was busy – with so many visitors, the Park Service requires one to attend a ranger-guided tour and only by reserving tickets in advance. We were fortunate to visit Balcony House, Spruce Tree House, and Cliff Palace, plus the mesa-top Farview sites, within our one-day visit. I’ve posted a handful of photos, which scarcely capture the beauty of the place and the complexity of these dwellings, at Smugmug.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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