Monday, 16 August 2010

Long House Tour, Wetherill Mesa

Before we left Colorado Mesa Verde National Park beckoned, Wetherill Mesa in particular. Wetherill Mesa is only open during the summer and is much quieter than Chapin Mesa.

Leaving early we reached the entrance and started up the long drive to the top of the mesa, as the road is currently being resurfaced the Colorado Welcome Centre recommended allowing for a 2 hour drive. We reached the Visitor Centre had a look around and then joined the small queue of cars waiting for the gates to Wetherill Mesa to be unlocked at 9.00 a.m.

Wetherill Mesa itself is reached by a 12 mile drive along curvy roads up

and down various canyons and mesas.

From the parking area you can take self guided tours using a mixture of foot travel and/or the park tram to Step House, Badger Community, Kodak Overlook, Long House Overlook and Nordenskold Site #16 Overlook.

There are also various ranger guided tours. This particular day we had tickets for the 10.00 a.m. Long House tour.

Ranger Alison led the tour which climbed down the side of the canyon, and, of course, back up! The tour lasted about 1½ hours.

After hiking partway into the canyon we reached Long House and climbed up into the interior. Once everyone was inside Ranger Alison went through some of the things the Ancestral Puebloans would’ve used from the surrounding area.

The Ancestral Puebloans view into the canyon.

These rooms perched high up in the dwelling, would probably have been used as granaries, the doors would’ve been sealed with blocks of stone and mortar in an effort to keep rodents out.

Long House
Long House from Long House Overlook

On the way home, we stopped at various points along Wetherill Mesa to enjoy the wildflowers

and the spectacular views into Montezuma Valley and beyond.

Have fun, we are!

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