Millennium Mom

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mesa Verde National Park, June 8th

We set off for Mesa Verde from Great Sand Dunes on Thursday morning.  We big adieu to the McClure's in the morning and headed West.  Our plan was to head to Durango and spend the day there.  We had heard it was a nice "western" town and wanted to check it out.  Our neighbor and financial advisor Dean Moulas has a client there and goes to visit each year and always spoke highly of it, so off we went.

Durango was nice, but not quite what I expected.  While I didn't think it would be Vail, I thought it would be a little less New Paltz, NY (think Woodstock for those not familiar with New Paltz, it is the closest town to Woodstock, very hippie, college town).  My kids are getting used to seeing people with beards and long hair out here that for sure.  We found a gelato place, as it was a hot day and then headed to Carver's for dinner, which was recommended on Yelp.  We had a nice meal and headed for our RV park.  The Mesa Verde RV park was GREAT!!!  It had a very nice pool that the kids headed to immediately and once again a laundry room and bathroom that looked like you could eat off the floors.

We need to thank Woodall's web site, as it was recommended to us to find great RV parks and it was right on all of them so far.  We set up shop for the night and headed to bed looking forward to Mesa Verde the next day.

For those not familiar with Mesa Verde here is what we learned about it
1) it is the 6th oldest national park (for those who like trivia I will reveal the 5 older at the bottom of this blog);
2) is it a "cultural preservation" national park, dedicated to preserving the history of publuen societies who lived there until 1300;
3) it's main attraction are the "cliff dwellings" which are little communities that look like apartment buildings built under the cliffs.  The people moved there around 1200 after living up on the Mesas up until that point.

We signed up for 2 tours - one to Cliff Palace and one to Balcony house.  This was after hearing all the "requirements" for each hike - going up 30 foot ladders, crawling through 12 foot tunnels, no heart/respiratory conditions and so forth.  Given my dad has an artificial knee and my mom is 8 months removed from a 14 hour surgery and has circulation problems in her right leg from cutting her main vein to that leg.  Walking actually helps a ton, but needless to say it is still very strenuous.  But we were all up for it so off we went.

Our guide to Cliff Palace was PT, he was awesome.  Met him on the walk down to the tour and we hit it off.  Ben happened to ask me as he was next to us, "Mom what NFL franchises are names after a state and not a city" and before I could open my mouth he said "Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota and Arizona" - I liked this guy already.  I then asked him if he wanted other sports trivia and we had formed a bond for sure.  I stumped him with my two good trivia questions
1) name the four universities that have graduated a superbowl winning quarterback and a US President; and
2) name the six team names that are shared by two professional (of four major) sports teams
answer will be below.

Here are pics from Cliff Palace.  This cliff dwelling held they believe about 200 people, in about 20 clans.  The round areas are Kivas, like their sacred gathering place.  They had roofs back when the people lived here.

From Cliff Palace we headed to Balcony House, the most strenuous of the hikes.  Balcony house was a much smaller cliff dwelling, it only had two clans and is named after it's balcony.  One of the hypothesis for why there is a balcony was to keep the kids from falling over the cliff, so a safe "daycare area" if you wish.  This one required climbing a 30 foot ladder seen below.  That is Claire, Sarah, me and my mom (bottom) on the ladder.  We all did awesome, but a poor women in our group (bottom left) had a major panic attack about climbing it, but the ranger wouldn't let her turn around.  He managed to talk her up the ladder, and she definitely conquered a big fear, good for her.

So another great day for sure, sunny blue skies, mid 80's temperature and lots of new knowledge learned.  For those of you anxiously awaiting the answers to my trivia here they are

1) National parks - oldest five are Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, Crater Lake and Mt. Ranier
2) Universities - Miami of Ohio, Michigan (Go Blue!!), Naval academy and Stanford
3) Team Names (key clue is think Hockey...involved in four of them) - Kings, Panthers, Rangers, Jets, Cardinals and Giants

Next stop 4 corners monument on the way to Moab, Utah to see Canyonlands and Arches.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home