Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mesa Verde National Park

From the entrance of the park to the Visitor Center is over 15 miles, but it takes quite a while to drive it, because you keep stopping to admire the magnificent views and to snap pictures (lots of pictures).

The largest and most often photographed site in the park is the Cliff Palace, which can be experienced up close by taking one of the ranger-guided tours. This is looking down upon the Cliff Palace from the overlook at the start of the tour. Tours are conducted every half hour. The 60 spaces on each tour usually fill quickly.

The ancient dwellers in this area moved here around 700 a.d, and remained until 1200-1300 a.d., when they migrated to other areas of Arizona and New Mexico. No one knows why they left Mesa Verde, although a severe drought during that time probably contributed to their hunting a new homeland. Many of the present day pueblo residents are descendant from these ancient tribes.

Our tour was one of the first of the morning. It began by descending a narrow trail along the edge of the cliff.

From the trail, we could look across at another ruin.

This is a zoomed view of that ruin.

Round, below ground rooms, in the dwellings are known as kivas.

Kiva is a Hopi word meaning ceremonial room. It is believed the ancient dwellers used their kivas both as a place of worship, and as a "family room" of sorts, a cozy place to keep warm in the winter, or cool in the summer. A single family dwelling usually contains 1 kiva.

There are many kivas in the Cliff Palace, leading experts to speculate that perhaps it was not a dwelling, but a meeting place for the families in the area. The palace consists of many rooms.

The trail from the ruin to the top is very narrow between the rock walls, and terminates with a wooden ladder, similar to those the natives would have used between structure levels.

We also hiked to the Spruce Tree House, the best preserved ruin in the park. It contained 129 rooms, and probably was home to 60-90 people. A ranger is stationed there to answer questions. At this site, we were allowed to descend into a kiva. For photos from our day at Mesa Verde, click below. As you look at scenes of the cliffs, see how many cliff dwellings you can spot. There are 600 of them in the park, and a total of 4500 archaeological sites - simply amazing. It seems you can pick them out in every crevice between the rocks. Only the sheltering rock ledges have allowed them to be preserved so well throughout the centuries.

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