September 2008:  Mesa Verde National Park

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Time for another fun Colorado vacation!  This Labor Day, we piled into the car and headed for the extreme southwest corner of the state to visit Mesa Verde National Park.

Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.

The south side of Wolf Creek Pass.

I loved the cool, foggy weather...

...Gabi wasn’t so sure.

Angel at the park entrance.

A view of Spruce Tree House.

Gabi and Araceli at the ruins of Spruce Tree House.







Spruce Tree House is the third largest of the cliff dwellings in the park.

It was constructed between A.D. 1211 and 1278 by the ancestors of the Puebloan peoples of the Southwest.

Looking into one of the kivas.

Gabi in front of the Spruce Tree House ruins.

A popular site!

The way in is steep and descends 100 feet on a winding path.







The Balcony House tour requires visitors to descend a 100 foot staircase into the canyon...

...followed by a climb up a
32-foot ladder.

A view of the canyon from Balcony House.

The Balcony House ruins.

Looking back on the route in!

More ladders...







...and tight spaces.

The ruins of Balcony House.

A very tight squeeze!

Representation of mortar stones.

A view of Balcony House.

The kiva at Balcony House.







The way out!

A narrow stone staircase...

...makes for a challenging climb.

Especially with a baby onboard!

A view of Cliff Palace.

The rain begins...









...and drives us back to our car.

A view of the Mesa as the storm rolls in.

Mesa Verde

Low-lying clouds as we leave the park.