Leaving Ridgway,we circled the San Juan Mountains on the west and went over two mild passes – Dallas Divide and Lizard Head – on our way to the Sleeping Ute RV park south of Cortez. There we met Mike and Barbara Williams and Arla Olson, Jo’s sisters. None of the three had visited Mesa Verde before, and my only other visit was almost 50 years ago in our then new 1966 VW camper. Our visit was on Oct. 1. Photos in the Canon A1100 IS.
On the way, dropping down Dallas Divide we found more nice fall color with the changing aspen. I grabbed this shot through the motor home windshield.
At Mesa Verde parts were closed for the season, but we could see plenty to get a good flavor of the park. Above is our first view of the Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling. Jo and I took the walk down to see it closely.
Here are the tourist facilities at the mesa top where our companions waited patiently for us.
This is the hiker’s first view of the cliff dwelling. About 80% of the walls are unrestored.
Here is the central courtyard with entrances to three kivas. Visitors were permitted to climb down a ladder to enter another kiva.
The poles sticking out of the wall served as the framework for the ceiling of one level land the floor of the higher level
Here the cliff dwelling was three series high.
An open kiva. The natives did a lot of practical engineering to bring air down to the underground room and let it vent through the entrance hole.
This is the far right side of the dwelling. The masonry workmanship is not as good in this part as in others.
Here is the evidence that I made it.
From the top of the mesa more dwellings were visible on the other side of the canyon. The top of this mesa was burned a few years ago,
This dwelling could be visited only on a ranger-led tour. The visitors are at the right.
We spent half a day at Mesa Verde. One who liked to hike and see all of the cliff dwellings and visit all of the museums could easily spend several days.