road trip     

Mesa Verde and Hovenweep

Wetherill Mesa

Mule-ear Daisy.

Wetherill Mesa

These happy little flowers are growing all over the place, blossom is about a half-inch across.

Wetherill Mesa


Wetherill Mesa

to be identified.

Mesa Verde: step house

So named because of a steep and narrow ancient stairway that led down the side of the cliff to the house. This site is the only one where visitors can hike down and spend as much time there as desired. A ranger is present to answer questions and it's great. All the other sites require the purchase of a ticket, the crowds are large and the tour is kept moving through.

Mesa Verde: step house

The ancient peope who built these houses and lived here are thought to be the same people who built the great houses at Chaco. We are tracing their journey/migration, in a way.

Mesa Verde: step house


Mesa Verde: step house

Step house kiva.

Mesa Verde: cliff palace

This is the famous one, and the largest. The crowds are large, and for the excellent reason of preserving the site, kept moving along. This photo is from across the canyon.

Hovenweep: cliff rose

This is a cliff rose but the swirly flower parts are different.

Hovenweep: cliff rose

Most of them looked like this.

Hovenweep "little ruins" trail

A beautifully kept trail leading to the ancient structures. Most of it was across sandstone, and marked with stones.


The same people - Chacoans, Anasazi, more appropriately called "the ancient ones" by the present day Puebloan people - built these places.

Hovenweep: close up

At Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, the stones were fitted using no mortar. At Hovenweep, the building technique used mortar.

Hovenweep: boulder house

Boulder house is built into a large boulder that just looks absolutely inaccessible from anywhere. This is a telephoto view, not visible in the photo is the pedestal the boulder sits on.

Hovenweep: collared lizard

These little guys scooted across the path all the time and then wuld cock their head back in a lizardy way, checking to see who was intruding on their sun-baked desert privacy.

Hovenweep: raven

Perched high on the watchtower. This place still lives.


Text and images copyright 2017 Thomas D'Alessio