Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Not for the Faint of Heart

About an hour and a half after the Cliff Palace tour, I left Mom and went on another tour without her, and I promise you, it was not mean to leave her behind, it was actually really nice.

I met the

It was another hour long tour, but it definitely had a longer introduction and precautionary list.  We would be descending 100 or so metal stairs that are anchored to the cliff face, then climb a 20 foot ladder, go thru narrow passageways (multiple times), crawl thru a 12 foot tunnel, and to exit climb a 10 foot ladder, then use foot holds carved in the rock and hang onto chains to climb for about 20 feet and then yet another ladder.

This tour is not for the fear of heights crowd or those who were having trouble with the altitude (Mesa Verde is at 7400 ft above sea level).  The elevation was getting to visitors from lower elevations.  Having said all of this, I LOVED this tour!!!

It gave me the best sense of what it was like to live and leave these dwellings....

our entrance ladder....

they knew I was taking the photo...
my bum is in the people behind me photos

after climbing the ladder, you went thru 2 narrow passages that climbed a little more
and ended up on the 'patio'...
As the tour was starting, the weather took an ominous turn.  The skies went dark and the wind started to pick up.  This added a sense of urgency in our climbs....and added to the decision for about 5 people to turn back and not continue.  (I personally think the ladders scared them more)
looking out from Balcony House...
notice the skies....

see the ledge?
It's the balcony that named the site
Unlike Cliff Palace, Balcony was a family dwelling.  It was a Matriarch society, which meant the husbands joined the family, not the daughter going to the husband's home...and Balcony would of supported 20 to 30 people.

notice the similarities to the design of Cliff Palace?

Soot markings on the ceiling...from cooking 


looking out...
The design left nothing unused...
storage areas and where they would of had access to the water seeps

yep, you had to crab walk under there...
I am 5'9" tall...
I would of been an Amazon/Giant in their times...
The tallest men were only 5'5"....
women barely reached 5'.

What I thought were windows..
were actually doors.

The things you learn on tours....
door, not window...



There were markings on some of the walls...
on the left, a really faint drawing from the original dwellers
on the right, a number carved into the wall from the first archeologist to study Mesa Verde
The weather was getting a little more unpredictable and our tour was coming to an end, but the most adventurous part was still to come.....
about the size of the opening for the tunnel.
It was time to leave the dwelling and head back up the cliff....
First, a crawl thru a 12 foot long tunnel.  Hands and knees, people....

I was waiting to climb the last ladder, so not the best photo, but
it still gives you the idea.
Next, another long wood ladder....
Then, they had enlarged the original footholds to be able to accommodate modern feet and added chains to hang on to for about 20 to 30 feet straight up...
And finally, another wood ladder.

All with the wind whipping and howling around you and rain starting to fall...

Yep, we all did it in a hurry.


Adrenaline still up...
Melissa



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for leaving me behind although I feel a mite jealous. What an adventure. Just the pictures gave me the heebie-jeebies!

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