I’m not sure how it happened but I got to go on a hike, while on duty, to one of our backcountry sites! A group of my co-workers and I went to Spring House, an 8-mile 8-hour hike. Lets just say that I haven’t hiked 8 miles in …… well…. forever. But the aches and pains, and the huff/puffing was worth it.

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Spring House is one of our special backcountry hikes that we offer here at Mesa Verde National Park, quite possibly the most strenuous hike we have. It is advertised as

“As you hike to Spring House, you will be rewarded with views of alcove sites in Navajo and Wickiup Canyons. Spring House is the largest unexcavated cliff dwelling in the park. It is extremely fragile, so you will not enter the site, but will get excellent views of the cliff dwelling from a platform at the south end of the village. This 8-hour, 8-mile round-trip hike is very strenuous along an unpaved, uneven trail with an elevation change of 1,500 feet and includes steep drop-offs and switchbacks.”

And that ladies and gentlemen, explains this hike perfectly. Allow me to show you in pictures, because we all know I’m no good with words! 🙂

First we had to climb down into the canyon, then walk along the canyon bottom to then, climb back up on a different mesa to get to Spring House. Of course there were a lot of stops along the way as well!

The view on Top of Long Mesa

The view on Top of Long Mesa

Walking through the bottom of Navajo Canyon.

Walking through the bottom of Navajo Canyon.

 

Enjoying the view and telling stories!

Enjoying the view and telling stories!

Along the trail there are quite a few small dwellings to see, as well as other treasures to find!

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Buzzard House: Gorgeous!

_IGP4563edit_IGP4400edit Finally we made it to Spring House!

Spring House

Spring House

We found some archeologists done there and were able to explore the site! With their guidance and rules of course. It was very neat.

We found some archeologists there and were able to explore the site! With their guidance and rules of course. It was very neat.

_IGP4464editAll in all, it was a very exhausting day, but 100% worth it.

A horse painting?  Which really doesn't make complete sense because horses didn't get here until after the Spainards came. By that time there was no one left living here at Mesa Verde.

A horse painting?
Which really doesn’t make complete sense because horses didn’t get here until after the Spaniards came. By that time there was no one left living here at Mesa Verde.

Foot Petroglyphs! Can you see the little baby foot?!?!?!

Foot Petroglyphs!
Can you see the little baby foot?!?!?!

A fossiled seashell found in the trash midden.

A fossilized seashell found in the trash midden.