Sunday, July 29, 2012

Our July New Mexico and Colorado vacation–Part 1–Heron Lake, NM and Mesa Verde, CO

We left here Thursday morning hoping to make it to around Chama, NM to Heron Lake State Park.  We did it!  Nice little place to camp. The lake is really pretty.

Taking a stroll to the lake.07-19-12 Heron Lake 05Buddy absolutely loves the water!07-19-12 Heron Lake 08He will swim to catch that rock or stick that is thrown.07-19-12 Heron Lake 15Beautiful boys!07-19-12 Heron Lake 16We got up the next morning and headed for our reserved spot at Mesa Verde.  Yes, we splurged and got – GASP – electricity and water!  Luxury.  We went to the ranger station and got tickets to see two of the ranger led tours.  One was Long House on Wetherill Mesa and the other was Cliff Palace.  We opted out of Balcony House due to the long tunnel crawl and a 32 foot ladder climb.  We were not sure everyone could do those.  First was Long House.

There is a lot of area of Mesa Verde that has been devastated by fires.  They have signs telling which areas were burned in which year.  Several fires.

Here we waited to ride the tram to our meeting place to hike down to the ruins.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 0207-21-12 Mesa Verda 0407-21-12 Mesa Verda 05Beautiful views!07-21-12 Mesa Verda 0807-21-12 Mesa Verda 11Zachary took over the camera most of the time here and did a GREAT job.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 1307-21-12 Mesa Verda 15This round hole was caused by looters.  Sad huh.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 1707-21-12 Mesa Verda 2007-21-12 Mesa Verda 2407-21-12 Mesa Verda 25This is really wood from the ruins.  Think how old it is!  Very arid here so it really does not rot.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 27The original inhabitants made these impressions from making tools.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 28Moss grows from seeping springs. Most have been diverted to save the ruins but a little remains.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 3307-21-12 Mesa Verda 42Inside a kiva.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 4707-21-12 Mesa Verda 4907-21-12 Mesa Verda 5507-21-12 Mesa Verda 5607-21-12 Mesa Verda 57These were in a place where the natives danced.  When they were covered with animal skins they became foot drums.  Very interesting.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 5807-21-12 Mesa Verda 60Badger House Community Trail had four buildings that showed how the community grew.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 6707-21-12 Mesa Verda 71Zachary captured this little fellow running out of one of the buildings.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 72Long House from the top.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 9907-21-12 Mesa Verda 103This is Spruce Tree House.  It is a self guided ruin.  You can crawl over lots of its spaces.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 105And down into a kiva.  07-21-12 Mesa Verda 11007-21-12 Mesa Verda 111Photo op!07-21-12 Mesa Verda 12007-21-12 Mesa Verda 12307-21-12 Mesa Verda 126I believe this is the Sun Temple. We did not go around to it.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 128Lots more cave dwellings were around this loop but not accessible.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 12907-21-12 Mesa Verda 133Here is Cliff Palace. We did not get to go down to it in the end.  It started lightening and raining.  The lightening was VERY close and very loud thunder followed immediately.  We decided this was as close as we needed to be.  Packed into the truck and then drove through the rain to our campsite.  07-21-12 Mesa Verda 138

I was quite surprised by the forest service plan. They say if it is lightening they will wait 10 mins and see if it stops. If it does, they go down, rain or not. But if they feel it is safe they go. We did not feel safe. Stupid to us as the lightening was right above us! It made us jump each time it struck. But we also decided we had seen enough of the ruins and we could skip one!

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Our July New Mexico and Colorado vacation–Part 1–Heron Lake, NM and Mesa Verde, CO

We left here Thursday morning hoping to make it to around Chama, NM to Heron Lake State Park.  We did it!  Nice little place to camp. The lake is really pretty.

Taking a stroll to the lake.07-19-12 Heron Lake 05Buddy absolutely loves the water!07-19-12 Heron Lake 08He will swim to catch that rock or stick that is thrown.07-19-12 Heron Lake 15Beautiful boys!07-19-12 Heron Lake 16We got up the next morning and headed for our reserved spot at Mesa Verde.  Yes, we splurged and got – GASP – electricity and water!  Luxury.  We went to the ranger station and got tickets to see two of the ranger led tours.  One was Long House on Wetherill Mesa and the other was Cliff Palace.  We opted out of Balcony House due to the long tunnel crawl and a 32 foot ladder climb.  We were not sure everyone could do those.  First was Long House.

There is a lot of area of Mesa Verde that has been devastated by fires.  They have signs telling which areas were burned in which year.  Several fires.

Here we waited to ride the tram to our meeting place to hike down to the ruins.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 0207-21-12 Mesa Verda 0407-21-12 Mesa Verda 05Beautiful views!07-21-12 Mesa Verda 0807-21-12 Mesa Verda 11Zachary took over the camera most of the time here and did a GREAT job.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 1307-21-12 Mesa Verda 15This round hole was caused by looters.  Sad huh.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 1707-21-12 Mesa Verda 2007-21-12 Mesa Verda 2407-21-12 Mesa Verda 25This is really wood from the ruins.  Think how old it is!  Very arid here so it really does not rot.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 27The original inhabitants made these impressions from making tools.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 28Moss grows from seeping springs. Most have been diverted to save the ruins but a little remains.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 3307-21-12 Mesa Verda 42Inside a kiva.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 4707-21-12 Mesa Verda 4907-21-12 Mesa Verda 5507-21-12 Mesa Verda 5607-21-12 Mesa Verda 57These were in a place where the natives danced.  When they were covered with animal skins they became foot drums.  Very interesting.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 5807-21-12 Mesa Verda 60Badger House Community Trail had four buildings that showed how the community grew.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 6707-21-12 Mesa Verda 71Zachary captured this little fellow running out of one of the buildings.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 72Long House from the top.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 9907-21-12 Mesa Verda 103This is Spruce Tree House.  It is a self guided ruin.  You can crawl over lots of its spaces.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 105And down into a kiva.  07-21-12 Mesa Verda 11007-21-12 Mesa Verda 111Photo op!07-21-12 Mesa Verda 12007-21-12 Mesa Verda 12307-21-12 Mesa Verda 126I believe this is the Sun Temple. We did not go around to it.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 128Lots more cave dwellings were around this loop but not accessible.07-21-12 Mesa Verda 12907-21-12 Mesa Verda 133Here is Cliff Palace. We did not get to go down to it in the end.  It started lightening and raining.  The lightening was VERY close and very loud thunder followed immediately.  We decided this was as close as we needed to be.  Packed into the truck and then drove through the rain to our campsite.  07-21-12 Mesa Verda 138

I was quite surprised by the forest service plan. They say if it is lightening they will wait 10 mins and see if it stops. If it does, they go down, rain or not. But if they feel it is safe they go. We did not feel safe. Stupid to us as the lightening was right above us! It made us jump each time it struck. But we also decided we had seen enough of the ruins and we could skip one!

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