Monday, July 12, 2010

Mesa Verde

Pete can be such a slug sometimes . . . I see he's been negligent on keeping up our blog (using weak excuses such as a remodeling job on the house and arrival of his 4th grandkid, Elliot, who literally popped out into the world yesterday) So I figure it's up to me, Oscar, to take up his slack and get this on the road again . . .

Here's the wonder egg at "Baby Rock" a cool formation of red sculpted shapes . . .

Northeast of 4 Corners is the Mesa Verda National park where we got to see some of the most unique homes ever built in the US. Around 600 AD, a group of people chose this area for their home. The climate allowed them to plant crops on the tops of these mesas. Eventually, they constructed grain storage and living spaces in the sides of vertical cliffs! An amazing feat to be sure. It provided them protection from enemies and the most famous one, called Cliff Palace, even has its own source of water from a natural spring that sprouts out of the rock.

House of Many Windows

Here's a "Kiva" which is a room dug down into the earth used for religious or communal purposes. It's entered by a ladder from the roof, has a ventilation shaft with damper, fire pit, altar, raised platform, wall niche, and a hole in the floor ‑ the sipapu. To the Pueblo Indians the sipapu symbolizes the place of emergence ‑ the channel through which the living communicated with the spirits of the dead. It also represented the navel of the earth.

The rest of the photos are of the Cliff Palace. Walking among it, we could discern the improvements in design and masonry techniques. Starting with raw rocks fitted together without mortar (these were the early ones near the natural spring) to shaped bricks forming complex shapes, held firm with a long lasting mortar.

Sometime around 1200 AD, within a space of two generations, these homes were abandoned by their inhabitants for unknown reasons. Maybe the crops wouldn't grow due to severe drought or the soil was no longer fertile. Perhaps the animals they hunted all moved away. Today their descendants are spread among 24 tribes that inhabit Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.


squirrelgirl said...

Congrats on #4 grandchild! I'm expecting baby #2 sometime later this month. Your pics bring back memories of a trip I had to Mesa Verde when I was younger; it was fascinating and I'd love to go back now as I think I'd appreciate it even more. Glad to see you back!

Anonymous said...

Hi Oscar,
Thanks for the great pix of Mesa Verde. I'm hoping to convince my people to take me there in a year or two. It looks fascinating.

Hope you are staying cool; it has been horribly hot in Illinois for the last few weeks, but my people took me camping and I got to sit in the shade in my very own camp chair, so I had a good time.

Tell Pete that Pam and Bill said hello and hope he is staying cool. Also, congrats on the new grandbaby; pretty exciting.

Your friend,
Isabella, the Italian Greyhound

Happy Trails said...

Ruf, ruf Oscar,
My lady has been buzy posting pictures on our blog all walks or anything for Scotty n I... They haven't taken us there yet but maybe as we head back to FL....I'll go find Chuck now for a walk, REALLY need one NOW. Great job on blog BTW
Doogie Bowser

Anonymous said...

glad you made it! Love the Anistasi ruins and of course I have my own Pueblo indian on a painted pinto pony tale.....

Congrats on a new grandson! I'm sure Sparrow is loving the new addition as well!

Oscar, the "kids" are doing well as the temps this year are mild. Eddie, has felt no need to grab the phone and leave his "mark" to call you complaining of the heat.

afcabbie said...

I finally made it to your blog. Now I can travel with you guys in a way. These pictures are amazing and I can't wait to see more. Be safe on your next adventure! See you guys in a few months! Take Care - Jessica "Oscar's Groomer"

Oscar said...


Thanks for getting me ready for our next adventure to the Appalachian Mountains. You're the BEST!