Day trip to Mesa Verde

So Monday was our first day at the IHS. Since it is a government site, there is TONS of paperwork involved so that’s all we did from 8 till 4. Little did we know that we would have the next two days off so we decided to take a day trip with the other students from VCU that are doing their ambulatory care here.

So little did I know, Colorado is just like 15 miles away from here -the nearest town being Cortez, CO right by Mesa Verde National Park.

Not very colorful – and my cheerleader pose is me mocking the VCU girls

MAY 22, 2012
The drive to the entrance of the park takes about an hour than its another 30 minutes or so of curvy roads until you reach the visitors center.

The drive up is always nice

From there, you can see the different trails you can hike throughout the park (like the Petrified Forest) and there are two tours you can pay – Cliff Palace and Balcony House which are only $3 each.

So what this place is famous for are all the architecture that remain intact. These houses date back from 900 AD and remain in great condition today. The two tours we took allowed us to walk among the villages that are strategically placed among the cliffs which create a natural shelter to cool and protect them. Each place requires you to take some steep stairs, narrow passageways, and climb some tall ladders in order to get there.

The first place we went to was Cliff Palace. This was the less difficult of the two and it is nestled right in a cliff.

Cliff Palace

Balcony House was the more difficult one, which you have to climb a 32 foot ladder (shorter than it sounds) and a bit longer of a hike. Our tour guide for this one was fantastic though. His name was David Franks and he was part Indian and was just so knowledgeable about the history of the place and was just full of jokes. He was just so passionate about the history and connecting with people in the past and it was just awesome. Did you know corn is a man made plant? That it wouldn’t exist without man since it was cross pollinated? I haven’t looked this up yet to see it was true (by look up, I mean Google) but I don’t care, I’m going to believe it anyways.

But keep in mind, you’re at an elevation of 7000+ feet so those short climbs got us WINDED. I wasn’t sure if I was super out of shape, but I’m going to blame the elevation instead.

The drive up was really nice and the tours were worth it – so cheap! We decided to head home after that but stopped by a local winery right outside Cortez – Guy’s Winery.

So this Winery is about 4 miles from the main road and then you have to drive up a bumpy dirt road and a man made bridge of wood over a creek to get there. We weren’t too sure how legit this was, but as we entered the house, there was this sweet little old lady pouring wine for 2 other couples. Pretty sure this was her house and they operate the tasting right outside the kitchen. Anyways, it was wonderful – we got to taste every single wine she had and left happy. Each of us bought a couple bottles each. The group’s favorite was the Sweet Merlot, the Port, Chardonny and the Rose. I think all four of us bought a bottle of the Sweet Merlot.

Anyways, tomorrow is FINALLY our first day over at IHS. Four days in a row, 12 hours each. Our next trip includes Durango, the Great Sand Dunes (SAND SURFING!!!!!!), hike to Zapata Waterfall, Aztec Ruins.

Not too many pictures this time – no internet is hard. Expect a large photo dump later.



  1. Linh, Just wanted to let you know we are following your trips and enjoying the historical and off the cuff commentary. The scenery is beautiful! (Andrew says, “Hi, Aunt Lauren!” )

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