A Travellerspoint blog

Gallup, NM

Stop #24 USA RV Park

sunny 60 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

SEMINOLES WON!!!! Remain undefeated.

Leaving Arizona, headed east now. I am trying to not view this as the end of our trip but it is hard not to since we are "headed" home. We had originally planned to go up to Cortez, CO and stay for a few days, but, decided to just stop in Gallup, NM and drive up for the day to Mesa Verde NP instead of of pulling the trailer up there. We are traveling on I-40 which runs right along the railroad tracks and there must be one of those big long trains every 30 minutes, hauling coal and containers. More desert! I have to admit, it will be nice to see some lush green scenery, big, huge oak trees, sparkling water....and on and on.
P1020017.jpg Note train going by.

Day 1 - Sun, Oct 20, 2013
Headed out to Mesa Verde today which is about a 2 hour drive but we didn't want to be this close and miss it. For those who have not been out here, Mesa Verde NP is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States. The Anasazi, or ancient Pueblo, inhabited Mesa Verde between 600 to 1300 and began building their "cliff dwellings" around 1100. On the drive, we passed some more of those intriguing rock formations. I wish I had a time lapse photograph of how some of those are formed. Interesting.

Arriving at the park, we stopped in at the visitor center to get tickets for the Cliff Palace tour. There are 3 "dwellings" which require a ranger tour but only the Cliff Palace (which is the largest) is open. I have a feeling, even though the government is open for business, the "shutdown" is the cause of this as they are all generally open until the end of October. We take the 21 mile drive through the park to arrive at the general area of the dwellings. There isn't much between the Visitor Center and "the end of the road" but some beautiful vistas.
P1020056.jpgP1020073.jpgP1020074.jpgP1020040.jpg this is actually the canyon where a lot of the cliff dwellings are located

Taking our time on the drive, we arrived at the Cliff Palace area with time to spare before meeting the ranger who would guide our tour We took the opportunity to just scout things out. On meeting with our guide, we were warned of the strenuous trail down and up to the Cliff Palace, steep steps, climbing over rocks, climbing up and down ladders, etc. Looking around at the people gathered, Bob and I were both wondering how some of those people were going to accomplish this trek. Hah, I was wondering how WE were going to be able to do it! A few people did back out, but, for the most part, the group remained intact.

The Cliff Palace is truly amazing when you consider it was built in the 1100's. It took almost 100 years to complete the 150 room "palace" being built from the local sandstone, mortar and wood beams; the majority of it being built in a 20 year time span. The wood beams in the cliff enclave are still structurally sound due to the low humidity and protection from the elements.

After our visit to the cliff palace we to a short jaunt to the Spruce Tree House, another cliff dwelling. This one, you can tour on your own and actually go in it. Maybe this is why it isn't as well preserved but still, amazingly, standing after centuries.
P1020070.jpg Part of trail going to Spruce tree house

Back to Gallup, after our tour, to prepare for the trip into Texas.

Posted by scpurvis 14:04 Archived in USA Tagged mesa_verde gallup_nm cliff_dwellings

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Hey Europe ain't got nothing on America! Great pics

by JuneM

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