Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mom and Dad Knape Visit - Day 2

On the second day that Phil and Judy were with us we drove down to Durango and slightly west to Mesa Verde National Park. I was so excited about it because the fifth graders in my school go every year on a field trip and I thought their pictures were so cool.
The first place we stopped was Park Point, the highest point in the park. It had a 360 degree view. I've never been anywhere with a view all around like that.

This is at the south look-out point. You can see the valley and far off mountains behind us.

The wide open valley below the look-out point. I'm sure you could see the entire park (and maybe beyond) from this spot.

In 2000 there was a fire on the Mesa, burning much of the park. The gamble oaks are starting to come back, but the skeletons of the old ones still remain.

I thought it was pretty sleepy-hollow like.

The first cliff dwelling that we came to was Spruce Tree House. It was one of two dwellings that we didn't need a tour pass for.

You can see the dwelling behind me. The story behind the ruins is quite interesting. Nobody knows what happened to the Indians that lived there. The ruins weren't discovered until the 1880's, though archeologists believe the ruins were abandoned in 1300. You can see how the cliffs created a natural roof for the ruins.

We could walk right down and in the Spruce Tree House, though there were park rangers there making sure that no one was disrespectful of this great find.

Phil got right in to take a picture. Can you believe how well the Indians built these communities so that they lasted this long?

The next ruin we stopped at was Cliff Palace. This one, however, we needed a tour pass for. It did have an overlook that we could stand at and see the ruins without a tour pass.

It's quite unbelievable when you see it.

You can see a group of people on a tour of the Cliff Palace in this picture. The Cliff Palace is quite large. The circle structures throughout the ruins are called 'kivas.' They are ceremonial rooms where they had healing rites or prayer. They also were a gathering place. They have a small hole in the floor called a 'sipapu,' which is a symbolic entrance to the underworld. Fascinating...

No comments: