Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 21 -- Durango, CO

The Millers at Mesa Verde!

After a day of rest, we needed another day of fun.  We loaded into the car and drove to Mesa Verde National Park.  Greg planned out the whole day when we got there.  Mesa Verde has more Ancient Puebloan Ruins.  Like Bandelier, the ruins are in cliffs however, you approach them from above at Mesa Verde.  To visit the ruins, you need to go on ranger led tours.  Some of them involve climbing ladders up and down cliffs which isn’t my cup of tea, thank you very much.  My son agrees with me on that deal.  Ruth and Greg, however, are eager for that kind of adventure.  So, Greg booked two tours for them and just one for Gage and I.

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde

We took Ruth and Greg to where the tour for Balcony House met.  They set off on their adventure with ladders, tunnels, and ruins.

Ruth at Balcony House, Mesa Verde

Gage and I did a driving tour along a nearby mesa top.  We got to look at Square House Ruin which is spectacular.

Square Tower House, Mesa Verde

After we picked them up, we went to the tour we were all doing together -- Cliff Palace.  It has a few ladders -- not too bad.  Gage did not like the ladders but he sucked it up and did them.  We were so proud of him.  Ruthie -- who loves this kind of thing -- lead the group and was at the front of the tour the entire way.

Ruth at Mesa Verde.  She and Greg went on three hikes.  She led the way on all the ladders and steep stairs.  She's fearless!

Gage at Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde!  He conquered the 30 ft of ladders!

We headed off to one of the Visitor’s Centers to find lunch.  There was a great little cafeteria and we all had fantastic food.  We filled up our water bottles and drove way out to the last tour of Long House.  The tour met at the outpost Visitor’s Center there -- they take a tram out to the hiking point with the ranger and then hike a mile to the ruins and come back on the tram.  Gage and I intended to take the tram ride at some point too but there was a big thunderstorm so we just sat back and enjoyed the view.

Storm brewing over Mesa Verde

On the drive back, we encountered this little guy by the side of the road.  At first, we thought he’d been hit but upon turning around, we realized he was fine -- probably just soaking up heat from the road.  We watched him a few minutes and headed off for camp.

Look what we found hiding by the road at Mesa Verde.  We were afraid it had been hit but I think it was just wanting to lie down on the warm asphalt.  A life limiting behavior.  So cute though!

We were tired when we got back to Durango so we went to a local BBQ place for dinner -- Serious Texas BBQ.  It was quite good -- especially the cheesy potato side dish.  The meat was amazing!  We tried to be serious while we were there but found it impossible.  :)  We ate outside on their deck overlooking the Animas River.  Heaven on earth.

Millers in Durango, CO

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