Saturday, October 17

Hanging On The Edge

We spent most of today in Mesa Verde National Park learning about the Ancestral Pueblo people (often referred to as the Anasazi) and exploring one of their cliff dwellings (Balcony House) with a very knowledgeable Park Ranger. The tour was informative and a little bit of a challenge, as you will see.

These are the type of niches (shallow caves) that these dwellings were constructed in.

 

Over 150 of these dwellings have been found in the cliffs of Navajo Canyon, the oldest dating back nearly 1500 years - Balcony House is thought to be 800 years old and with 40 rooms it is considered a medium sized cliff dwelling.

The two round pits are the primary living areas - a roof would rest on the vertical posts with a small opening for access by a ladder
 
And now for a little tale on how you access Balcony Hourse, and get back up top,
On the way in we walked a short path down the canyon wall, the up a 35 foot ladder to enter the house
On the way out we use this door
and after a 15 foot crawl we scamper out
and climb another ladder
then using this OSHA approved system we climb the canyon face, to be greeted by another ladder, a few stairs and at last we are out of the canyon.