Friday, June 5, 2015

Mesa Verde, Colorado

My Dad took my brother and me to Mesa Verde when I was 9... or 10.  I can't remember.  But my Dad knew what he was doing, because the trip permanently etched itself into my memory.  It was one of those very cool things that helped shape my delightful childhood.

Mesa Verde has a special spot in my heart.  And I've been waiting years to take my children.  Seriously.

This trip spanned 4 days.  2 cities.  5 Camelbaks.  1 Osprey.  And a whole slew of snacks and sunscreen.  Here's the top categories.


A friend recommended this one - and I've been itching to go.  So we hit Moab on our way down to Colorado.  The best part is this particular arch is outside of Arches, located in the BLM.  In other words... only crazy, rope-swinging fanatics know about it.  And thankfully, none of them were there during our visit.

What I found most remarkable is Corona looks camouflaged when you first see it.  Here we are (picture below) coming around the corner and it took us almost a full minute to figure out the arch was right in front of our eyes.  (Bowtie is to the left)

The troops did amazing, especially Bubbs - who woke up grumpy from a nap the moment we pulled into the trail head and he had to climb carefully over the most technical section with ropes.  Fantastic hike!!  

MESA VERDE - Balcony House 

Balcony House was by far the biggest highlight of the trip.  It's also the most technical hike in Mesa Verde, and we knew we were risking Greg having to duck out with Bubbs if the little guy couldn't scale the 30 ft ladder at the beginning.  Plus the steep drop offs, the tunnel, the rock face climb at the end, etc.  But he did it!!

I have no doubt that the personal access to these ruins will eventually be curtailed (it's already happened at Cliff Palace).  So I was thrilled my children got to see them up close and personal before it's gone.  

And then there was the whole hand print thing.  I got goosebumps... 

Can you see the hand print?  6 fingers.  No explanation.


The Petroglyphs Point Trail (right off the Spruce Tree House) was my personal favorite.  

A 2.4 mile loop that was nearly deserted except for us.  It was indescribably picturesque with cool, canyon breezes that smelled magnificent.  It was definitely off the beaten path, and unfortunately, I didn't realize how awesome it was until we were rushing to the end to make our ticket time at Cliff Palace.


The room we stayed in at Cortez has absolutely ruined every future hotel room we'll ever book again.  They will never measure up to this kind of greatness.

Our main fare was packed lunches, dished out to everyone's pack.  The two exceptions were Milt's in Moab, much to Greg's delight.  And we tried out a BBQ place in Cortez, affectionately called "Jimmer's".  


We are never going here again.  Never.  Ever. 

The ONLY redeeming quality about this ridiculous, dusty, waste-of-an-hour-drive was the dialogue re-enactment from The Simpsons that we all did around the center. 


AND... we stopped here on the way home.  

One last note - this trip was especially thrilling for Greg and me thanks to one of our favorite books - Preston and Child's Thunderhead.  I've read it probably half a dozen times over the past 10 years.  It's historical fiction.  But it's all based on Mesa Verde.  It's scary, thrilling, brilliant, plausible and unbelievably thought-provoking.  I don't necessarily buy into their theory of the cliff dwellings, but they make a darn good story.

I channeled my inner Nora Kelly.

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