In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Plans -- and Mesa Verde National Park

                                       Cliff Palace -- the largest dwelling ruins in Mesa Verde

This morning I was reminded of all the planning that went on for our trip to Mesa Verde National Park in mid-September and the plans for events to take place after we returned.  I had saved today as a writing day, intending to write this blog early this morning.

When I awakened, it was dark and cold in my little place.  The electricity was off and the heating, though gas, doesn't work in a useful way without the electric blowers.  It was 60 degrees and dark.  After checking to be sure that Xcel, the power company, knew about the outage, I snuggled under my comforter and went back to sleep.  It was light outside when I woke up--a beautiful chilly bright day.  Whatever could have caused a power outage on such a day?  The original estimated time for the power to return had been 9:15 am--not bad.  However, the phone calls kept coming, and the delays mounting.  When the Xcel trucks appeared in the parking lot, I went out to see what was happening.  A station wagon was parked right over the spot where the underground break was, and the owner was unavailable.  One of the Xcel men helped me open my garage, and when I left at 11:30, they still hadn't towed the vehicle and begun the work.

Now, I'm at a coffee shop with lots of others, drinking coffee, using the computer and charging my phone (and getting warm).  I am more aware of the effects of the flood on those who were without power for days and I had water and no flooding in my home so only had a small taste of their difficulties.  We take so much comfort for granted!

Mesa Verde -- an amazing place.  It looks so barren and yet people farmed those ridges above their homes carved into the canyons.

Much later--I was called out of the coffee shop to assist with some work at church so didn't get his finished. Now, re-reading it, I think of how the people who lived in these cliff dwellings must have kept warm in the winter.  Right now there is at least a couple of feet of snow in the Mesa Verde area.  I forgot when we were there that the Sangre de Cristo mountain area is that which usually has the most snow of any part of Colorado, and it's on the edge of that mountain range where Mesa Verde is located.

We were amazed as the rangers who led hikes into two of the ruins and the one who led the hike we took shared their thoughts about how these dwellers lived--different theories about how they arrived and when they left.  All agreed that it was a hard life.

This ladder at Balcony House (36 ft. I believe) wasn't there for the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in these cliff dwellings.  We all marveled at how they must have climbed the rock faces of the canyons to reach the mesas where they grew corn, grain and squash--and from looking at those "fields" now, we wondered how they grew anything edible.  (The ladder is secure though I was slow climbing to the top. It's done two at a time with a little space between the pairs.  My friend moved quickly up the ladder so I climbed alone with those behind me wondering if I was okay.)

It seems long ago--that trip in mid-September, but the evidence of the Boulder and Front Range floods are still with us.  The last of the highways up the various canyons opened yesterday morning--temporary but adequate until next spring when permanent rebuilding will begin.  The county roads that are passable are dirt and won't make for good winter driving.  My friend who had been evacuated twice by fires and again with the flooding and with dirt to drive on through the winter showed off her new Subaru 4-wheel drive vehicle yesterday.

I'll sign off of this mixed post and write one for Thanksgiving now.

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