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17 Photosets

2016-05-08  
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
mini location map2016-05-08
7 by photographer avatarDallinW
photographer avatar
 
Mesa Verde National Park, CO 
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
 
Hiking avatar May 08 2016
DallinW
Hiking8.80 Miles 1,729 AEG
Hiking8.80 Miles
1,729 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I arrived at Mesa Verde around noon, got myself a camp spot, then hit the trails around 1pm.

The first trail I did was the northern loop of Prater Ridge. I was hoping to get some good pictures of the snow-capped San Juans (La Platta to be specific), but they were covered in clouds since I arrived in Cortez. Every so often, I would get a glimpse of a snow-capped peak or two. No matter, I'll be driving through the area for the next couple of days so I'm sure i'll get my chance. Other than a couple of good views to the west of the steep cliffs of the mesa and Sleeping Ute Mountain, this trail got old kind of quickly. The weather was looking rather ominous as well, I couldn't tell if the wall of clouds was coming towards me or moving away from me. I had intended to do the entire loop but once I reached the "short cut" trail which takes you back to the loop junction I decided to call it good for this trail. On a clear day I'm sure this trail has a little more to offer.

On my way up the mesa, I stopped at Park View Outlook in hopes that the clouds might of lifted over the San Juans. No dice.

Next I went to the Spruce Tree House to see some ruins. I wanted to try and avoid the crowds at the guided tours, and I wanted to check out Petroglyph Point Trail. I discovered when I got there that the ruins were closed and that the area closes at 5pm (it was 4:09pm). Petroglyph Point was only 2.6ish miles long so I knew I would be cutting it a little close, but I headed down the rim of the mesa. The hiking got really good here. Petroglyph Point Trail contours the mesa about 120 ft from the top. You are squeezing through boulders and tight spaces, constantly descending and climbing narrow stone staircases, and at some points doing some very short light scrambles, all while next to some steep drop offs into a canyon on your right with great views. Although short lived, this really redeemed the day for me.

In my haste to return to the TH by 5pm I missed the Petroglyphs and ascended back to the top of the mesa. Whoops... ](*,) From here it's all flat easy walking so I shifted into high gear and made it back to the TH at 5:03pm.

BTW, if you're wondering how I'm posting this from the campground at Mesa Verde, it turns out they have installed free wifi... :o
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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DallinW's
131 Photosets

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