Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Preponderance of Posteriors

This is not actually a post about behinds as the title suggests, although it’s true that a few are featured. As I just shared photos of Colorado’s Mesa Verde, I thought I’d follow up with shots of the many tight spots, steep ladders and narrow stairways one must navigate to explore these ancient cliff dwellings. It is definitely not a place for those with claustrophobia or a fear of heights!
Our Park Ranger had an amusing tale from the previous week about a woman freezing in panic halfway up this ladder, too afraid to go higher or to climb back down. As it is a sheer cliff with no easy access, heavy equipment had to be brought onto the mesa top to lower her to the ground far below.
Needless to say, visitors are more carefully screened than ever to avoid such incidents!
While stairways were carved into the rock for tourists in the 1930s,
the Anasazi scampered up and down the cliff face with ease, winter or summer. 

At left are the original handholds carved out by the ancient people to aid in their climb.


Often, access to the dwellings was gained only through a single narrow opening, a clever idea that lent ease to guarding the fortress against enemy infiltraton. It does, however, make a tight fit for today's overfed tourists!

The photo above shows a typical entrance to the cozy kivas. Once inside with a warm fire, family groups could comfortably settle in to weather the cold, dark winter months, bolstered by the knowledge that their store rooms were well stocked with grain.

To walk in the footsteps of the ancients is worth any effort to get there.  

To stand where they look out on the world they saw is a rare and extraordinary chance to experience history on a uniquely personal level...


Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful photos, Lynette, but that amusing story could have been about me, except I would probably not even try climbing a ladder for precisely that reason.
I would love to see what the ancients saw, and now I can see it through the eyes of a friend — the next best thing to being there. Thank you!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I so enjoyed this - this is an area I would love to see. I can just imagine hunkering down over the winter in one of the kiva's. Fabulous photos, and very interesting about how the Anasazi could skitter about the rock faces so nimbly. Love all the well fed posteriors squeezing themselves in narrow openings:)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think I'll check it out once the elevator is installed. Oh hell, what am I -- a princess? I'd use an escalator too.

Zuzu said...

I am surprised that they allow so many people on the ladders at once!
Your photographs are gorgeous, Lynette!
Wishing you a happy one,
~ Zuzu

Katy Cameron said...

Oh how cool, thanks for showing us around more

Lois Evensen said...

Wow, what a fantastic climb! And, your title is perfect. ;)

Pat Tillett said...

Great photos of a fantastic place! I went when I was younger, but haven't been back...

Mad Kane said...

I'd have to be an ass not to enjoy those photos. :)

Mad Kane

Rek said...

This was interesting journey through ladders and your lens. :)