Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 2: Visiting Mesa Verde National Park

Seriously....if I do one post a week of our family vacation, it'll take me 10 weeks to get'er done.  I apologize to the other family members waiting for photos of our adventures.  I'm slow.  Or busy.  Or I just do other things.  Like avoiding the pile of laundy laying on my bedroom floor since we got home.  And now there's cat barf also.  And my children are supposedly cleaning their rooms right now.  I'm not sure if I want to check on that progress.  And to those outsiders peeping in....hold on to your hats.  I'm not sure what will spout out here from our second day of vacation in southwestern Colorado.

On with the photo dump:

We spent the second whole day visiting Mesa Verde National Park.  It's awesome.  There's way too much to see in one day.  It's huge.  Like gargantuan huge.  We stopped at the visitor center and asked a friendly ranger what the best stuff to do in one day was...and we followed her recommendations.  The kids also got the junior ranger booklet to complete on our trip.  They did the age appropriate activities and were awarded a junior ranger badge.  Nothing like a little piece of plastic to make a kid happy!


We first hit up Spruce Tree House.  It's a self-guided tour that's pretty awesome.  I'll use that word a lot.....awesome.  You walk down a slightly steep paved pathway to get to it.  Can you believe people built that and lived there?  That's pretty awesome.



There is a rebuilt kiva that you can climb down into at Spruce Tree House.  And then you climb out.  After you wait in line with all the other feet.


Remember to pack lots of water and snacks.  It gets hot there, especially in July.  And don't forget hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.  If you're going on a guided tour....drink up.  You don't want to faint on the stairs or ladders.  We took the guided Cliff Palace Tour.  It was awesome.


You walk down lots of stone stairs to get to Cliff Palace.  That was totally exciting for the kids.


Then you get to tour the stone dwellings with a park ranger.  The most memorable tidbit we learned....the mortar to stick the stones together is made with dirt, ash, and liquid.  Since this is the desert....there isn't much water.  But another liquid is plentiful....care to guess what it is?  It's......urine.  Yep, they used their pee to build their homes.  Now that is recycling at its best.  And some people stopped leaning against the walls when the ranger told us that. 





Scooter got to be the lucky boy chosen by the ranger to point out the corn cob in the wall. 
See it?  Those people were the best at recycling and reusing.


The way out included more stone stairs to climb and a bunch of ladders.  The way out was the kids' favorite part of the tour.  I should have guessed that would have been their favorite part.  Next to hearing about the pee.



After our awesome tour, we did a self-guided tour and walk at the Far View Site.  That was pretty neat too.  Though by that time we were hungry and hot and the kids kept asking when we would be going back to the campsite. 



For a long day at the park....the kids were little troopers!  And no one pooped their pants that day....that came later in the vacation. 

If you haven't been to Mesa Verde National Park and get a chance to go....I'd recommend what we did.  If you've been there, what do you recommend seeing?

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