Today, our itinerary consisted of traveling to one of Colorado’s four national parks. Mesa Verde sits the furthest from our home so we haven’t had the chance to see the marvel for ourselves until today. Dogs are not allowed on the tours and with it usually being hot as hell out at the park, we opted to put Wyatt in a kennel in Durango near our campsite. He should be more comfortable and we wouldn’t have to worry about him. We packed the RV and made the drive 30+ miles west out to the park. The entrance is at the foot of a large mesa. The road winds up the mesa and out into the park. However, the attractions are nearly 20-30 miles of driving along the tops of other connecting mesas. Kind of brutal. Anyway, we got out there and bought tickets to go and see the Cliff Palace, which is the dwelling most often seen in photographs. Our tour didn’t start for about an hour so we parked in the lot out front, opened the windows, made lunch, and enjoyed having our entire camp right there with us in the RV. Could use the restroom, make calls, clean dishes, or whatever. The RV is definitely the way to go. Anyway, it was time for our tour. A short hike down revealed the beauty of these cliff dwellings!
Mesa Verde reportedly has 100s of dwellings throughout these canyons. The public only sees a small fraction of them. Those are the bigger and more well known ones. Many others have not been excavated because they are on federal land. As you drive through the park, there are various overlook points. You can look across the canyon and see much smaller dwellings that are usually much higher and seemingly unreachable.
Sydney had question after question for the rangers and some were pretty good. Sydney and Reagan both filled out this book along their tours and ended up being sworn in as Junior Rangers by a real life Park Ranger. They have badges and all. Better watch myself around them now. And Kayla got to ride around in style as we navigated the ups and down through the cliff dwelling tours.
The highlight of the tours for kids seems to be the ladders. You have to climb 100s of feet up and down during the tour through very narrow areas in the sandstone. The girls had a good time. It was a challenge at times to fit myself with the Kayla backpack up through some of them but we made it.
We got back to the RV park so the kids could swim in the pool for a while. Sounded good to me. Afterward, it was back to the RV were I started up a campfire without using gas or anything for once. The girls roasted marshmallows for about and hour. They probably ate 2 of them. Mostly had fun setting them on fire and saying “whoa” or “ewww”.
Moving on tomorrow. Must continue to mark all roadside attractions!