Vacation Day 55/90
Saturday, July 05, 2014
We enjoyed Great Sand Dunes National Park. We walked on the sand dunes one day, but MAN! Walking UPhill on sand at 8,000 feet is not my idea of fun! We made it 2/3 of the way up to the top and called it quits. The next day we did a GLORIOUS hike up to Mosca Pass. It was 7 miles round trip and passed a babbling brook, through alpine meadows with lots of wildflowers in bloom. Glorious! The altitude gain was 1,400 feet (from 8200 to 9600) but it was gradual and we took our time. Pictures NEVER do reality justice, but here are a few photos:
We stayed at San Luis State Park, which was 8 miles directly south of the National Park -- you could see the dunes and mountains in the distance. The afternoon weather changes dramatically every day! Amazingly beautiful!
Now we are at Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. This is one of the few World Heritage and Cultural sites in the United States.
For an unknown reason, in about 1100-1250 AD the indigenous people moved from living on the top of the mesa to living in the "alcoves" below the surface. They built villages and dwellings there. They are very difficult to get to, and must have been even MORE difficult back then, so the thought is that they moved below the surface for protection.
There are over 1400 such sites in the park but obviously only a few are open to the public. We took a ranger-led tour of Balcony House, which entailed going down about 300 steps and then climbing UP a 32-foot ladder and crawling through a 12-foot long, 18" wide tunnel:
Pictures of the cliff dwellings:
Up the ladder!
Leave it to TC to get a picture of my @ss!!
We are trying to hike every day but it has been really hot here -- close to 90 degrees every day. That, plus the thin air really makes it hard. Today we are going to another National Monument (Hovenweep) and hope to walk the trails there. That's why we'll get there when they open at 8:00 am!
Hope everyone had a wonderful fourth of July!