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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Southwestern Colorado: Mesa Verde’s Balcony House

October 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

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For my second full day at Mesa Verde National Park today this sunrise from the balcony of my room at Far View Lodge welcomed me:

Far View Sunrise

Far View Sunrise

Then, later this morning I experienced the most challenging cliff dwelling, Balcony House. The challenge was in getting to and from the one cliff dwelling clearly situated for defense:

The View of Balcony House from Across the Canyon

The View of Balcony House from Across the Canyon

Getting there in the 1200s when the Ancestral Puebloans built Balcony House must have been almost impossible. Now it is merely difficult. I had to climb the 32-foot ladder shown at the right in the photo above and close up in the photo below:

The Only Way to Balcony House

The Only Way to Balcony House

Not a fun place to visit if you have a fear of heights! Or for that matter if you have claustrophobia:

The Tunnel Was so Tight That I Had to Sit Down

The Tunnel Was so Tight That I Had to Sit Down

Once I got to Balcony House I could visit some of the complex’s 38 rooms:

At Balcony House

At Balcony House

Leaving Balcony House was almost as much fun. First came a 60-foot climb along an open rock face. Finally, I climbed two 10-foot ladders.

Then, this afternoon I hiked the three-mile Petroglyph Trail to see the largest known group of petroglyphs in Mesa Verde:

Mesa Verde's Largest and Best Known Petroglyph Panel

Mesa Verde's Largest and Best Known Petroglyph Panel

Here is a close up of the central section. The figure with one hand to the head and the other to the waist is a whipping kachina, or spirit being, according to four Hopi men (descendants of the Ancestral Puebloan people) who interpreted this glyph in 1942. The figures on either side of the kachina represent the Puebloan people:

A Kachina Keeping the Puebloan People in Line

A Kachina Keeping the Puebloan People in Line

Who keeps us in line? Do we need a Whipping Kachina?

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