Mesa Verde National Park (Cliff Palace and Balcony House)

Hey everybody, things have finally gotten back to normal. While I was in the middle of a two part update about Mesa Verde National Park (Cliff Palace and Balcony House) then my editor started slacking.

Papa wasn’t around much this summer and that made updating very difficult. He was constantly on about a summer job with Ivey Performance Marketing in Milwaukie, Oregon and being extremely busy while in Oregon. I think he was just being lazy, and I know lazy!

Finally Time for a Nap

So now that I have my editor back I can get to regular updates again!

Where was I seems so long ago now. The trip to Cliff Palace and Balcony House was a different situation from the normal.

Not only could I not go, National Park and all that, but Mama couldn’t either.

Mama was in a horrible accident about four and a half years ago and there are certain activities that can cause her pain and they had read there were some real tough spots so Papa did this on his own to bring pictures back for the both of us.

Mesa Verde National Park

The way down to Cliff Palace was made a bit more accessible to the humans of current days. Not too much though, there are places I could get up if I wanted to. Like this place down there for instance.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses 2

What Papa was told was that there are these little holes that the Native Pueblo Indians would use to Climb down there! Reminds me of the time back at Arizona Hot Spings, the time I almost died.

Now Cliff Palace has some stairs and ladders to get down from up top.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses 3

As they moved in closer it was far more apparent how impressive these dwellings are. These people using nothing more than handmade tools and some serious athletic ability were able to make this place in the side of the cliff.

On top of that they farmed up on the plains. So these guys were in and out of these daily. Papa learned about the two sentry towers on either side to watch for intruders.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses

Here is another one of those Kiva homes like the ones back at Chaco Culture. These ones were smaller but they used the same architecture as the others that lived 143 miles away.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Kiva

After Cliff Palace Papa went to the tour over at Balcony House. There was a walkway for a little bit but then things got hairy.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Path

Make note to remember this guy.

Along the path they stopped at another Kiva for a lesson about the Kivas again.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Kiva 2

The Ranger gave a very informative talk about the native Pueblos and how they did things. Did you know that by the time they were 30 they were considered elders? The reason is that they didn’t live as long in this harsh environment.

The Pueblos teeth were filed down because of the powdered rock that they got with every meal of Maze. The Maze was ground between two special stones creating a mixture of powdered rock and corn. It wasn’t ideal but it was the only option they had at this time.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Ranger Tour

The time to climb back out had come and the first thing was to go up this little ladder and up the little walkway on the upper right. Not so bad I could jump up there.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Ladder Replica

Just around the corner there was a perfect doggy door for me to get through. Papa never said anything but when I saw this I thought the Pueblos must have loved dogs to make such an easy passage for them.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Doorway

I quickly learned I was wrong. Right after the doggy door they had to climb up this. I started to think that the dog idea was ridiculous.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Path Out

Here is what is waiting just after that! I was definitely wrong about the dogs…

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Ladder Out

Impressive side note though, this guy is 93 and went through the whole thing! Good on you Sir! It is great seeing someone still out enjoying life at his age.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses Ladder Out 2

Once up this ladder there was a great view and you could see down to the bottom of the ladder.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Houses 4

Finally after all that climbing Papa and his new friends were all right back at their cars. With a great view over the canyon. Everyone went their separate ways. I knew as soon as Papa was coming home like we dogs always do. I woke up and let Mama know Papa was en route.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff

So finally the pack was back together and hearing about those Cliff dwellings was amazing! You humans never cease to amaze me.

Until next time!

Chaco Culture (New Mexico)

A few weeks back Mama, Papa and I went to a place in the middle of nowhere called Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Though I wasn’t actually able to get into the ruins, again, we had great trip that was like looking back in time.

The drive didn’t seem long but I was asleep most of the way so I could be wrong. (Oh, Papa tells me I was wrong.)

Through the desertThe road was desolate and for miles nothing could be seen. That is, until we came across some beautiful wild horses.

I remember the first time I met a horse I was hiking with Papa up in Oregon when we walked up behind two of them. I didn’t know what to do with these huge creatures so I kept my distance until Papa made me walk right past them. Can you imagine my small stature looking up at a horse…?

Wild HorsesAs we went farther into the middle of nowhere we came across these two buildings. They were the only buildings you could see for miles and seemed long since abandoned.

Desert DwellingsFinally we went through a gate and found the entrance sign to Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

ChacoWe were finally here and ready for an adventure. Alas, this was as close as I would get as again “NO DOGS ALLOWED!”

I’m noticing a theme here about National Parks and that theme is that they do not like animals. At least not the ones that people befriend.

Chaco TrailMama and Papa trekked farther and came across this plaque that tells of the finding and slight restoration efforts that were done once the ruins were unearthed.

Pueblo Bonito They began walking around the outside and around the back of this structure.

Approaching Chaco from the side The architecture here is very different from anything Mama and Papa had ever seen.

Area Closed Beyond SignOnce they were around the backside they went up on a ledge that looked over the whole building. They read that the archaeologists that found this place believe the outer walls were much larger when it was in use.

Chaco View

Saw this lizard

Saw this lizard

This wall here shows the height they suspect the outer wall was all the way around.

Chaco staircaseThese steps lead down to the entrance to the inside of Chaco Culture where humans can walk around and get an up close look at the ruins.

Chaco Culture interiorThis circular room are called Kivas and were used when the people would have important gatherings that involved a family. This is a Great Kiva where many families would gather.

Chaco GatheringBelow is a standard size Kiva. Mama told me these Kivas each represent a family. Meetings and birthing would happen in these as well as many normal daily activities.

A roof would be made by laying wood on the pillars and eventually when enough were stacked it would make for quite the roof. They even had vent holes at the bottom of most of them so the fire and the people could breathe.

Chaco Kiva Moving farther in there were rooms that were finished and most likely used for storage. Though to get through them you had to crouch to enter. Our old neighbor, Dean, who is a Native American up in Oregon told Papa about small doors and Native American culture.

Dean said it is about respect, symbolized birth and is humbling to the person as they came through. Ill intent and negative emotions are to be left at the door. I wonder if the same is true for the people that lived here?

Chaco DoorwayThis is the inside of one of these finished rooms. If you look close you can see someone was nice enough to carve RW into the wood. These look so out of place I can only imagine that someone with no respect came here and decided to blemish this amazing piece of history; too bad really.

I am a dog and you could trust me not to do something like this. Thankfully this was the only defacing they saw here.

Interior Room CeilingFinally when emerging from the other side, the trail had led them full circle and almost back to me. I always know when they are coming to get me and that made me happy.

Chaco wallDesert Frenchie

This turned out to be a great trip for Mama and Papa and I got a chance to sit in the shade.

Thank you to Papa’s fourth grade teacher, Mr. Oliver, for recommending we come to Chaco Culture National Historical Park.