We left our Walmart campsite and set out for Mesa Verde, Colorado today. From what we gathered, the campground rarely fills so we were counting on that! We stopped into the Visitor Center to get maps and info and grabbed Junior Ranger packets. We made reservations for Balcony House tour today and the Longhouse tomorrow. In chatting with the rangers, he mentioned the smoky weather conditions and confirmed that the smoke was indeed from the California Wildfires. L
We headed into the park, and checked in at Morefield Campground. After setting up, we headed out to Chapin Mesa for the Balcony House tour. We stopped at a few lookouts, and were pumped up to check it out! The tour did not disappoint, and we climbed a 32 foot ladder to get up to the pueblo area and crawled out through a 12 foot long tunnel and steep ladders on the way out. It was hard to imagine that the people who built the dwelling climbed up and down using handholds only, and Lily was told that at her age she would be doing so with a crock of water on her head!
We drove the Top Loop Road and stopped off at nearly all the sites, including Square Tower House, the pit houses, saw Cliff Palace from the lookouts and Sun Temple as sunset was beginning. We checked out museum and the kids played games in the Junior Ranger area. The artifacts were such a testament to using the resources you are given! There were fantastic displays of pottery, woven items, tools, and foodstuffs that tell the history of the people who lived there.
As we were leaving the Chapin Mesa, we noted that the café by the museum served Navajo Tacos but was closing in 10 minutes. Andy said he needed to find some, and the brochure said that they serve them at Farview Lodge, but that was incorrect and now we will be hunting Navajo Tacos until we satisfy that curiosity!
We took in the Ranger Talk at the amphitheater at the campground, and it was a great one! The ranger spoke on the history of national parks, and it was informative and entertaining. The stars were coming out, but the moon was nowhere in sight, so I sat my butt in a culvert and propped my camera up on my bag to try and capture some of the night sky. Next trip, I will remember to bring a tripod. I really enjoyed today and am looking forward to the Longhouse Tour tomorrow!