Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; paved pathways with slight grades at elevation of roughly 7,000 feet; be sure to stay hydrated and take your time. Getting on/off motorcoach often; driving approximately 6 miles on Chapin Mesa’s loop road; about 4 hours including stops at overlooks and ruin sites.
At the lodge, we’ll have a breakfast buffet featuring a selection of hot and cold entrees, plus coffee, tea, juice, milk and water.
A regional expert will join us in the lodge meeting room to give a presentation introducing us to the geography and pre-history of Mesa Verde. They will cover how and why the first people came to the Mesa, how they adapted to its unique conditions and environment, and how these ancestral Puebloan people fit into the larger economic and social network of the region. Mesa Verde National Park has been declared a World Heritage Site. Some 4,400 archaeological sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top.
At an eatery close to the lodge, we’ll have multiple choices in a cafeteria setting including vegetarian and gluten-free choices, plus coffee, tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.
We’ll board the bus and head for the Mesa Top Loop, which provides a sense of the expanse of Mesa Verde. Along the way, we will stop and walk a short distance to view Spruce Tree House from beautiful vantage points. Built between 1211 and 1278 CE, Spruce Tree House was home to about 80 people within its roughly 130 rooms and 8 kivas, making it the third-largest cliff dwelling on the Mesa. Afterwards, we’ll get back on the bus and transfer for a field trip to the Chapin Mesa Museum and view its historic dioramas depicting human habitation in the Mesa Verde area from 13,000 BCE to 1200 CE. These 5 dioramas were painstakingly built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930s. Our Group Leader, a former park ranger at Mesa Verde, will interpret the museum and its exhibits before allowing some time for personal exploration.
Lodge restaurant plated meal.
In our meeting room, a local expert will join us to discuss topics ranging from natural to human history, the Civilian Conservation Corps at Mesa Verde, Nordenskjold at Mesa Verde, or another regional topic.