Saturday, February 6, 2016

Our Mesa Verde adventure

So we continued on to the second half of our big vacation.  With the Durango wedding done, we were off to New Mexico for some good homeschool field-tripping.  First we decided to see the ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park.

our first stop, ahead

At the park entrance, we went into the visitor center to learn about our options.  The park is very large, and there are a few different choices for seeing cliff dwellings up close.  While a self-led tour is idea for our group because we could take our time and go at our own pace, in this case I wanted a ranger-led tour because I thought we would learn more.  The park ranger at the entrance was very encouraging and explained that we would have to climb a ladder and squeeze through a tight spot, but that it would be no problem for us.  The center even had some examples on-site, and the kids loved climbing on the "jungle gym."  So we bought tickets for the 4pm tour and we hopped in the van for the 30-minute drive to the site.

We made it!   We found a good parking spot and loaded up some gear.  With little Celeste and active Sedric, we took our soft-frame backpack as well as the sling.  The kids wore their hats and had sturdy shoes.  We were all set.

meeting with our tour guide before the hike

The tour guide was a little more discouraging than the first ranger.  She explained that, while this was a short hike, this was a very rigorous experience.  We would need to climb a 35-foot ladder, and we would be literally on the edge of a cliff.  At that point I figured there was no turning back, and really, how bad could it be?  So we were excited to go...

(ok, maybe Celeste wasn't that excited)
Looking across the cliff, we could see other cliff dwellings.
The ranger stopped here for a little lecture, and I got my first taste
of what it felt like being at the edge of a cliff with no guard rail.
The Point of No Return
Since I am a little leery of heights, this was already making
me nervous....
At this stop, the ranger explained how the ancient people got
their water (it pooled up in places like this, after seeping through
the rock).
...and here we get a view of the ladder that we were to climb.  And by "we" I mean Marcus with a baby on his back, me with a preschooler in front of me, and our 4 other young kids...
and this was only the start of our adventure

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