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MESA VERDE- A Secret too good to keep!!

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We just got back from spending the day at Mesa Verde in SW Colorado. We live near by and have been there a number of times. This is their 100th anniversary of being a National Park and there are lots of special events going on all year.

We have viewed the major cliff dwellings { Spruce Tree house, Balcony House and Cliff Palace before, so today we decided to go to Wetherill Mesa.

It is about a 45 minute drive from the visitors center, as a result, many people don't bother going there. We were told that only 1 in 10 visitors go out there. We bought tickets {$3 each} for a ranger guided tour to see Long House [it is the only way you can see it]. We got tickets for the 12:30 tour. We first went to watch Hopi Corn Dance at Far View Terrace and check out the Indian Craft Market. We then drove out to Wetherill Mesa where we parked our car. We got there 1 hour early and walked down to Step House. It was really special as it has 2 different types of dwellings in one cliff side site. That took about 45 minutes. We then had a snack and waiter for the tram to take us to Long House.

There were only about 25 people in our group and had a very knowledgable park ranger. You are actually allowed to walk in among the various rooms and to go "behind the scenes" to see things as the Ancestral Puebloans saw them. It was amazing. And there were no other groups there at the same time. Apparently the 12:30 tour is the last one until 2 pm, so we had the place to ourselves. No crowds, despite it being July 4th weekend! We got to climb ladders, see where they got their water, and view all of the rooms and kivas that they used.

All four of us, who live in the area and had seen the other "major" sites agreed that this was the most impressive and since we got to go in...the best of all sites. And no crowds was an extra bonus.

So, if you are headed to Mesa Verde, check this out. And for the record, the tours all had tickets available for almost all of the time slots. I know a number of people on here were asking about buying tickets in advance...you can get them up to 2 days ahead, but we had no trouble. We got there around 9 am.

Hope this helps...

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