Saturday, May 10, 2014


Inside a reconstructed kiva at Spruce Tree House,
Mesa Verde National Park
Climbing ladders, long ladders, is the only way to visit the 13th century cliff-side constructions at Mesa Verde. Kivas -- the semi-underground structures built by the mesa-top dwellers from the 6th to 12th centuries -- used ladders to enter the dwellings through a hole in the ceiling; modern Pueblo people, descendants of the Mesa Verde residents, have similar access to their traditional homes.

The trail towards Balcony House
For many visitors, the long ladders are incredibly scary. But the ancient Pueblo people used hand and foot holds on the cliff face to enter and exit from the cliff dwellings. These are like a ladder, but much more challenging. It's hard to imagine all people, young and old, on a climbing wall virtually every day.

A visit to Balcony House begins with a climb up a huge ladder.
Coming up the ladder to exit from Balcony House.
Yes, that's the canyon floor down there.
In addition to climbing ladders, at Balcony House you
have to climb through an 18 inch wide tunnel at the back of the alcove.
Stone stairs exiting from Cliff Palace lead up to another ladder;
at top center, you can see the foot- and hand-holds for the original exit.
Top of Cliff Palace exit ladder
Taos Pueblo (visited 2004). You can see the similarity to the cliff structures
at Mesa Verde, and see some of the ladders. Scholars now think
the Taos Pueblo residents are descended from the people who lived in Mesa Verde.
Roof-access ladder at Taos Pueblo (2004).
Note: many present-day Taos residents also have a modern house
in addition to the original Pueblo house.


Barbara said...

Love the photos of ladders...brought back memories.

Geraldine Saucier said...

You were visiting in my area:). I love Mesa Verde and Taos Pueblo.

Nellie said...

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