Friday, September 18, 2009

Petroglyph Point Trail - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado

From Spruce Tree House, we kept going since we planned to hike the Petroglyph Point Trail.


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At 2.8 miles round-trip, the Petroglyph Point Trail didn't seem terribly daunting. I hadn't factored in the 7,000-foot elevation though, which at times made me feel like my heart was going to beat out of my chest because I was struggling to breathe so. Add in the dry, dusty conditions, and despite having a full, large bottle of water that I quickly depleted, I was parched.

The whole hike took about two hours since we had descended to the canyon floor at this point and would take a long route climbing to the top of the cliff again. We literally stood above Spruce Tree House as we neared the end of the trail.

See the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum? That's how far we've descended.


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It wasn't so bad at first. Narrow, rocky paths that reminded me of hiking in SoCal.


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The very last glimpse of the museum for a while. You can barely see it between the branches of the tree.


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Just amazing.


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I wasn't sure if the blocks were leftover from the Anasazi or a more recent re-creation?


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Obviously these small stacks of rocks were from previous hikers.


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Dry.

Hot.

Tired.

Thirsty.

Must.

Breathe.

All that work to get to this? Are you kidding me? There must be more?


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But no, a sign saying, "Please Don't Touch," indicated that these were the cave drawings for which Petroglyph Point Trail got its name.


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Lots of "jazz hands," yeah?


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The view from the top was even more amazing.


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I felt like I was on the edge of the world.


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Will this tiny, tiny tree become a real one some day?


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Can you see the museum again?


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Juniper berries.


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"Suddenly Carla remembered the juniper branch that Luke had brought to her yesterday, saying he thought she might like the smell of it in her room. The deep green of the needles had been studded with the small, powdery silver blue of the hard berries. Flipping quickly to the index of the cookbook, Carla looked up juniper, found a recipe in which it was used and discovered that a very few berries went a long way in flavoring any stew. She closed the book, ran upstairs to her room and returned with several pungent berries in her hand. Singing silently to herself, she began assembling the ingredients for boeuf a la campagne." (Elizabeth Lowell, "Fire and Rain," pg. 123-124.)
How could that not make you curious about what juniper berries taste like?

Yucca. I imagined the ancient Anasazi weaving clothing and sandals out of this plant.


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A turquoise lizard.


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It doesn't show up so well in my photos, but the lizard really was turquoise.


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Now we're standing directly above Spruce Tree House, looking toward the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.


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Wild turkeys!


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Seriously! Wild turkeys!


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Followed by baby wild turkeys!


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One last glimpse of Spruce Tree House.


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"And like the canyons steeped in sunlight and sage," Luke continued slowly. "Like ancient trails snaking up steep rock walls, wild maize watered by thunderstorms, stone canyons older than human memory. Things that last, all of them. Things with staying power. The land demands it. That's why most people live in cities and look for cheap thrills. It's easier. No staying power required. But they'll never know what it's like to stand and look over a canyon and feel yourself deeply rooted in the past, with the sunlight of ten thousand days locked in your body and your life branching into the future like the land itself." ("Fire and Rain," pg. 128-129.)
Echoes of a civilization long gone. Walking in footsteps that have been well-worn with time. Some places just need to be experienced in person.

Posts in this series:
Sadie's of New Mexico - Albuquerque - New Mexico
Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum - Albuquerque - New Mexico
Shiprock - New Mexico
Ted's Taco - Mancos - Colorado
Balcony House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
House of Many Windows - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Hemenway House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Cliff Palace - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Spruce Tree Terrace Cafe - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Spruce Tree House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Petroglyph Point Trail - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Cortez Cultural Center - Cortez - Colorado
Main Street Brewery & Restaurant - Cortez - Colorado
Absolute Bakery & Cafe - Mancos - Colorado
Four Corners Monument - Shiprock - New Mexico
Pine Country Restaurant - Williams - Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) - Arizona

Mesa Verde National Park
P.O. Box 8
Mesa Verde, Colorado 81330
970-529-4465

7-day vehicle fee $10, $15 from Memorial Day to Labor Day
$3 tickets are required to take ranger-guided tours of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House. Tickets may be purchased from inside the park at Far View Visitor Center and must be purchased in person.

Petroglyph Point Trail is 2.8 miles round-trip and starts at Spruce Tree House. It goes down along the bottom of the canyon floor to the petroglyph panel, goes back up to the top of the mesa, and loops around back to the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. It is the only trail in Mesa Verde National Park in which you can see petroglyphs.

*****
1 year ago today, an American classic, the BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato) Sandwich
2 years ago today, Sinh To Nha Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake).

4 comments:

  1. How would you rate this hike? Easy or hard? You know, I've always wanted to kill my own turkey for thanksgiving. I don't know about plucking all those feathers off though. :P

    ReplyDelete
  2. Diana,
    Medium? The distance and steepness wasn't that bad. But adding in the heat and elevation made it hard. Ha! I don't have the guts to kill my own anything before eating it. Cooking lobster and crab was really nerve wracking!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is it true what they say when you put a live lobster in a pot of boiling water that they shriek?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Diana,
    Funny! But in case that was a semi-serious question, they don't make any sounds. Just my guilty conscience shrieking at me. :P

    I cooked a live lobster last December and felt sooo guilty. And then I bought a fresh, but dead one in January. And you know what? It tasted just as good and I felt way better about eating it. It was cheaper too and I didn't taste any difference.

    Crab though. I've been spoiled growing up with fresh Dungeness crab, so I'll just let my parents cook them for me. :)

    ReplyDelete

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