In the southwest United Stated, there are lots of places where you can see ruins of ancient people's dwellings. Mesa Verde National Park holds, for me, a unique position in these. You can see many ruins, and can actually walk through some of them, including dwellings on flat ground and in the side of cliffs.
Mesa Verde is on a mesa, of course, and is at the side of a valley. Across the valley, we saw several mountain ranges with snow covered peaks.
We last visited Mesa Verde about 29 years ago. Not much has changed but much has changed. When we planned our trip to the southwest, we looked at the calendar for Mesa Verde for last year, and planned so we would be able to visit some of the sites that are only open during the summer. We didn't expect the force of nature to intervene. One site, Spruce Tree House, was closed because the ceiling was starting to fall and it needed to be stabilized before we could visit, so we could only view it from across the canyon. The other, Cliff Palace, opened for tours a week later than we expected. But all was not lost. We spent two days visiting the ancient dwellings, including walking through several of them.
When we arrived, we went to the visitor center to learn about the tours. That worked well for us as we learned when to sign up for the tours. We had to go back the next day when the visitor center opened at 8 am to get the best chance to book the tours we wanted. We were able to book one immediately as it isn't as popular as some others, probably because you have to climb a 30 foot ladder to get into the house. That sounds a little scary, but we readily climbed up the ladder. Just look up and not down!
We drove to Park Point overlook where you have a 360 degree view of the park and a lot more. We didn't stay long. At the top of things, it was very windy and chilly. Remember, this was May, a week before Memorial Day.
We viewed Spruce Tree House from afar and learned that a ceiling patch installed many years earlier was beginning to fail and then fall near tourists, narrowly missing them, so it is closed until the engineers can figure how to fix it better.
We toured Balcony House, climbing that 30 foot ladder to gain entrance. We also learned that we had to climb two more shorter ladders to get out of the House. It was really great to see the house from the house.
We took the Mesa Top loop which took us to a number of pit houses on the top of the mesa. They think they were used before the ancient ones moved to the cliff dwellings for reasons unknown, then moved away.
This was all on the Chapin Mesa. Two days later, we toured the Wetherell Mesa and visited Step House and Long House. They were much like the ones we saw earlier, but each house has its own unique way to it.
On the day between the two mesa tours, we went to Durango and took the Durango & Silverton Railroad, but that's a subject for its own posting.
We stayed in Morefield Campground. It is run by a private company, and well run by them. There are about 20 sites with full hookups. They offer WiFi throughout the campground, and it actually worked, although not perfectly, but there is no cell phone reception there so it was great to have.
The first night we were there, we were in a dry camping spot and our trailer water pump failed. Fortunately, we only had to endure one night carrying water and then we were in full hookup spots. We now have a new water pump. Let's hope it works OK on our next trip.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.