First we found this, where I got a little nervous:
But then I found a friend to gang up on the girls and that donkey:
But then right behind that was this. Isn't it a reassuring sign?!
We did find this though, so the town wasn't a complete loss:
The next day we went to get all cultured like, and went into Mesa Verde, booking in for a couple of ranger tours. This park is unlike the others we visited in that the thing being preserved is some buildings not the actual park land (although they do look after that too! - LT) Whatever. Anyway, the main bits of interest are these cave dwellings that the Ancestral Puebloans built in the 13th century. They only lived in them for less than a century, after they had lived on the mesa tops for years and years and years beforehand. LT's dad might know, he's probably that old...
We got up early to head in as we were told it took hours to get there, but in the end it turns out that might just be in the summer because we were very early! Anyway, it gave us time to work ourselves up to the steep climbs down and up, and to get some photos:
Before you get to go into the 2 main cliff dwellings, Balcony House and Cliff Palace you get a long talk about how if you have heart problems, lung problems, knee or hip problems, claustrophobia, acrophobia and a load of other things then you probably shouldn't go down. LT affected selective deafness here, rather in the way she has selective blindness about certain signs... (it was fine - LT) Might not have been... (moving on - LT) Anyway, we walked down loads of stone steps, then climbed a ladder into Balcony House.
Here's Ranger Paul showing us Balcony House:
Balcony House was split into 2 parts, and there are loads and loads of different theories about what they were used for and why and when. We'll let you google it if you're interested...
To get back up, you have to go through this crack in the rock before you climb a huge big ladder. The man in front seemed more interested in checking his camera than looking where he was going, but he didn't bash his head, he managed to bend down in time to crawl through the tiny gap:
After Balcony House we hit Cliff Palace, which is rather easier to get into by following a path down the side of the cliff. Here it is from halfway down where you meet the ranger:
And here it is when you're down there:
Just to prove I was there:
An ancient painting halfway up the wall. That light patch above was a doorway in. All the holes that you see in the buildings were doorways as well as serving as windows, they were rather small!
We had another huge big ladder to climb to get out. Here's Laura showing how narrow it was:
After that we wandered down to Spruce Tree House, which is self guided, and had a nice gentle path in both directions up the cliff! Isn't it concealed well?
It was a loooong day, with lots and lots of climbing about (*ahem*, which of us was climbing? - LT) Yeah, yeah. Here's our view from the campsite the next morning before we headed off to Arizona:
Catch you next time we get free wifi!