Thursday, June 13, 2013

Desert Dwelling

Mesa Verde is tucked away high up into tall cliffs near the top of a mesa in Colorado.
Dwellings of several stories fill the rock alcoves that tower 2,000 feet above Montezuma Valley.  There are approximately 600 dwellings discovered within Mesa Verde dating from about A.D. 550 to 1300.  The Ancestral Pueblo people crafted their dwellings of sandstone, wooden beams, and mortar.

The structures range in size from one-room storage units to villages of more than 150 rooms. 

The Ancestral Pueblo people subsisted by growing crops on nearby mesas, mostly corn.  Water for farming was provided by summer rains, winter snowfall, and seeps and springs nearby.  The men hunted as well. The women are famous for their beautiful baskets.

All photos here are of Spruce Tree House, the third largest cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde.  To visit here, we had to have a guided tour.  

This dwelling was constructed in the early to mid 1200s.  There are about 130 rooms and 8 kivas.  It is believed to have been home for about 60 to 80 people. 
This photo and the one below were taken at a distance.

Yes, we did climb up this ladder!  Here is our intrepid guide Denise.

view from across the canyon  (See the ladder?  just below the dwellings on the right)

Mesa Verde (means Green Table) is located in the high plateau country of southwestern Colorado. The park itself lies atop a high mesa that rises from the canyon cut by the Mancos River.

a few facts:

The park was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Mesa Verde National Park encompasses 52,122 acres (81 square miles).  
Elevation on Mesa Verde varies between 6,000 and 8,500 feet.
Mesa Verde is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This link will take you to a world wide list.
The climate is semi-arid. 
Spruce Tree House was built into a natural alcove measuring 216 feet (66 meters) at its greatest width and 89 feet (27 meters) at its greatest depth.

National Park website 
National Geographic 
National Park information about Spruce Tree House
Maps of Mesa Verde @ Desert USA
travelog- a family visits Mesa Verde @ Abingdon Outdoors
maps and information about North American deserts @ Desert USA with links

Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Ms Jenny, is so much fun!  This week our letter is "D." Come visit others' submissions HERE and join in the fun! 


photos by me © 2007   all rights reserved


  1. I've been there! It is absolutely amazing.

    All I could think of was how they dealt with toddlers!

  2. Gorgeous! I have never been on that side of the country but long to....these pictures make me want to go NOW! Visiting from the Etsy Blog Team!

  3. Great photos of Mesa Verde. Our 5th graders in Breckenridge visit there on an overnight camping trip.

  4. Wow, just stunning! It was helpful to have people in a couple of these pictures for some reference on the size. I really enjoyed the little tour today.

  5. Beautiful photo! I live in Colorado, but sadly I have not been here. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

    Hugs to you!

  6. Beautiful! Brings back fond memories of visiting there.

  7. Wow! Now that is a place I would love to see with my own eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Wow! I wonder what it was like living there. I don't think I would've managed to climb the ladder! You are so adventurous :)

  9. Wonderful photos of this interesting place, really fantastic these buildings in Mesa Verde!

  10. Beautiful photos! Mesa Verde is a wonderful place -- we visited when we lived in CO but not with a tour guide. I'm not sure I would have been able to climb that ladder!

  11. I love how much you travel! I really want to visit Colorado some far I have only been to Nevada. I would love to take the train through there! I really appreciate you sharing your photos.

  12. That is unbelievable! I had no idea something that amazing existed in Colorado. I guess I've led a sheltered life, but now I'd like to go!

  13. That ladder would h ave scared me to death . Great pictures

  14. Talk about a room with a few! HA! I like RMM's toddler comment.

    Such interesting history. We can all learn about building from the Pueblos.

  15. Amazing, just amazing. I've wanted to visit ever since first reading Animal Dreams in college.

  16. Wonderful. I love that history!!


  17. I love Mesa Verde. I grew up in Colorado, not too far from there and when I studied anthropology in college, I spent some time down at Mesa Verde and also at the Anasazi sites around there. This place is so spiritual and amazing. Thank you for sharing these. :)

  18. Oh I LOVE this place! I have visited and found it so amazing to see cliff dwellings - thanks for the great post!

  19. The dwellings are so amazing! They really knew what they were doing to still have them standing to this day!
    You're a lot braving them I am when it comes to that ladder...yikes!

  20. Thanks for sharing this fun adventure! And I was going to ask you if you climbed up that ladder!

  21. It is a wonder that this dwelling wasn't destroyed over the years...

    I can't imagine the determination it took to build these!

    Thanks for linking to the letter "D"!



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