We met up with Kristen and Geoff in Cortez Colorado for the weekend and it was pretty fantastic. We got to see Mesa Verde! I would not recommend the tours for kids under 5. This is not because of all the ladders and steep stairs and such, its because they are constantly stopping and talking and the kids don't want to sit there and wait for them to start walking again. Here is the view from across the canyon of the place we toured (cliff palace)
Then we waited for the tour guide to tell us all the reasons we shouldn't do the strenuous hike. Here are the ONLY pictures I took of people the whole trip!
Here are Alexander and Ethan checking out the far view. It was great that we could see Cliff Palace from the trail head. So if you don't want to hike all the way down you can just walk to this point to see it all.
An interesting point about the hike is that the stone stairs you walk down are all pre osha so you get a good idea of why stairs have to be a uniform height. They were very steep and you got a surprise everytime you stepped down. Here was the first ladder to climb. The kids all did really well.
As soon as we got up the ladder we were to stop and listen to the ranger talk about the history of the Aztecs that the anthropologists have assumed from their remains. I felt like I was standing on a cliff ledge and Eva wanted to walk back and forth luckily we made it through without her falling off.The kids were all listening and being good tourists. Notice Eva all the way up the top looking for the next place to go.
The view from the tour stop
Then we stopped right in front of the ruins for a while while the tour guide informed us. Then we walked a little higher and stopped again. Eva kept throwing sand and all kinds of things. Then it was time to go and we ran for the exit. Here was the way out
Here is the view of the way out from across the canyon. Pretty steep. I didn't realize how steep it was because I wanted to get the kids out of their as soon as possible.
The view down to the Palace from the exit
We were going to do the Balcony tour but there was no way the kids could do it after the previous tour. It was actually my sanity I was worried about so Geoff and Kristen and Jerry and George went on while we did the scenic drive. We stopped and looked at the balcony from the side of the road:
Then we saw the fire temple:And many other things. It was pretty amazing to see all these houses all over the cliffs. There were so many stops and you could see their windows and doors carved out. Its amazing to think how much energy would need to be used just getting from place to place. It was such a fun mini vacation. It was great to see Geoff and Kristen and we were even lucky to see Kristen's sister's family and Her parents!
Here are some elk we saw on the way home:
I took hardly any photos which was disappointing but I would love to do another trip like this! You just can't beat a 3 and a half hour drive to visit family and see a national treasure!