Monday, September 5, 2011

Mesa Verde National Park, Part I

After starting summer with a family trip to Moab and Arches National Park, Taryn and I bookended the season with a trip out to Mesa Verde National Park over Labor Day Weekend.

Point Lookout.

We saw more little lizards running around than any other wildlife. I'm not sure what surprised me more -- noticing the blue belly on this one when I was going through the pictures, or learning how many Colorado lizards have blue bellies when I was trying to identify him! I think I'm going with sagebrush lizard out of the possible options.

Plateau striped whiptail near Spruce Tree House.

Speaking of Spruce Tree House, Taryn enjoyed going up and down a ladder into one of the kivas.

And showing off her awesome balancing skills on the edge of another one whose roof hadn't been restored.

I could understand the interest in living on the cliff sides -- cooler in summer, probably warmer in winter ...

... and awesome curb appeal.

I didn't even see the dwellings at Sun Point View at first. I really should have expected some to be there, though, considering there are 600 of them in the park.

Another reason cited for the move to the cliff dwellings was easier access to water, like this spring in Balcony House that a nearby tree had worked diligently to access through about 10 feet of sandstone.

Taryn was asked by the ranger leading our Balcony House tour to be the front of the line when he had stuff to do at the back like close gates and make sure people were getting up ladders and down steps all right. Not surprisingly, this was her favorite part of our visit. :)

Click here for Part II.

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