Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SS's Mesa Verde experience.

SS was not as prolific today, yesterday she took 322 pictures. She was mesmerized by snow and was not as shutter happy.

We heard SS exclaim "Oh WOW a Resistance Inn."  It's a Residence Inn and we have no idea why SS was so impressed.

Hey look townhouses!

That is P's back while filling the gas tank.  It's amazing the mundane things that fascinate children. Still, it is fun to see life through SS's eyes.

Little did SS know she was going to get to see a lot of snow.

SS took this one from the opposite side of the van, I think she did a nice job.

Spruce Tree House, the following from the National Parks website:

Spruce Tree House, the third largest cliff dwelling (Cliff Palace and Long House are larger), was constructed between A.D. 1211 and 1278 by the ancestors of the Puebloan peoples of the Southwest. The dwelling contains about 130 rooms and 8 kivas (kee-vahs), or ceremonial chambers, built into a natural alcove measuring 216 feet (66 meters) at greatest width and 89 feet (27 meters) at its greatest depth. It is thought to have been home for about 60 to 80 people.

The cliff dwelling was first discovered in 1888, when two local ranchers chanced upon it while searching for stray cattle. A large tree, which they identified as a Douglas Spruce (later called Douglas Fir), was found growing from the front of the dwelling to the mesa top. It is said that the men first entered the dwelling by climbing down this tree, which was later cut down by another early explorer.
Spruce Tree House was opened for visitation following excavation in 1908 by Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Fewkes removed the debris of fallen walls and roofs and stabilized the remaining walls. Due to the protection of the overhanging cliff, Spruce Tree House had deteriorated very little through the years and has required little supportive maintenance.

SS has the zoom feature down as evidenced by this and the below picture of Cliff Palace.

From the National Parks website:

Recent studies reveal that Cliff Palace contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas and had a population of approximately 100 people. Out of the nearly 600 cliff dwellings concentrated within the boundaries of the park, 75% contain only 1-5 rooms each, and many are single room storage units. If you visit Cliff Palace you will enter an exceptionally large dwelling which may have had special significance to the original occupants. It is thought that Cliff Palace was a social, administrative site with high ceremonial usage.

Many visitors look at the size of the doorways in Cliff Palace and other cliff dwellings and wonder about the size of the people who once lived here. An average man was about 5'4" to 5'5" (163cm) tall, while an average woman was 5' to 5'1" (152cm). If you compare them with European people of the same time period, they would have been about the same size. Compared with today, the Ancestral Puebloan's average life span was relatively short, due, in part, to the high infant mortality rate. Most people lived an average of 32-34 years, however some people did live into their 50s and 60s. Approximately 50% of the children died before they reached the age of five.

Sandstone, mortar and wooden beams were the three primary construction materials for the cliff dwellings. The Ancestral Puebloans shaped each sandstone block using harder stones collected from nearby river beds. The mortar between the blocks is a mixture of local soil, water and ash. Fitted in the mortar are tiny pieces of stone called "chinking." Chinking stones filled the gaps within the mortar and added structural stability to the walls. Over the surface of many walls, the people decorated with earthen plasters of pink, brown, red, yellow, or white -- the first things to erode with time.

We definitely need to return because there is so much to see and learn. But I'm thinking flying rather than driving. 

SS's last picture because after admiring the small cacti it was all about the SNOW!!!

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