Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Balcony House - Mesa Verde National Park

Last week on Maralee's overnight trip with her school, we were able to tour the Balcony House at Mesa Verde National Park. This is the only tour I had never been on in the park, so I was really excited to have this chance. On our past trips we had either ran out of time or the kids were too little for the tour because of the 32 foot ladder you have to climb. This is a park ranger guided tour. Our park ranger took a lot of time to teach the kids along the way. Like my dad, I've always thought being a park ranger would be a fascinating and fun job. First view of the 32 foot ladder. It doesn't look so bad. The kids (and parents) all did great climbing the ladder. Not only is this tall ladder part of the tour, it begins with a long staircase to get into the canyon, has a 12 foot long tunnel to get out of the Balcony House, then a 60 foot tall climb to get back out via ladders and climbing on stone steps up a rock wall. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, it can be pretty challenging and fun! It's small price to pay to see this amazing home built by Ancestral Puebloans before the year A.D. 1300.
This isn't a great shot of the balcony, but this cliff dwelling was named Balcony House because of the balcony that was built between the first and second floor. The openings served as doors and windows.
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Lois said...

Those shots are amazing Lisa! I'm not sure I could make it up that ladder with my knees though, but I would be willing to give it a try.

Tony said...

Awesome, balcony house was my favorite when we went down. My wife and I each had one kid in front of us on the ladder so we could catch them if they slipped:).

julie said...

Will and I did this one last July while the girls did the popular Cliff Palace. I didn't find the entrance ladder as scary as the exit tunnel! A few more pounds on me, and I don't know if I would have fit through! ;)

Jacob said...

Kudos to you and the kids. I would probably have to pass on climbing...but your photos are just excellent and give us an excellent view of these cliff dwellings!

Thank you!

Barb said...

A wonderful tour with great photos, Lisa - I've never been to Mesa Verde, though the 4th graders at Breck Elementary used to do a field trip there. I love the picture of the children climbing the ladder and the top of the ladder looking out over the cliffs.
Get ready - more snow and cold on the way!

EcoRover said...

Wow! I've seen some Anasazi ruins, but nothing this cool--especially with the ladder access. I teach Jard Diamond's book COLLAPSE including the Anasazi chapter--something to think about in terms of our own future.