It’s been one of those days where I really wish I would have brought my camera with me. Twice today, a very large storm cell went through the park and produced extremely heavy rainfall. Which made giving tours to cliff dwellings highly entertaining. I’m sure another one may come through before the day is done!
I had the 9:00AM Balcony House tour, and even before the tour started, it began to rumble throughout the canyon. Thankfully I only had two people on my tour, so we waited and watched the clouds and lightning to see how close the storm truly was. About five minutes after nine, it seemed like the storm was far enough away to begin, and we all felt safe. It began to sprinkle a bit, and we didn’t want to get too wet, so we headed straight down to the dwelling. Once we got to Balcony House it began to pour, so we scurried up (safely because the ladder was wet) the 32 foot ladder inside.
My two visitors were quite enchanted with the amazing architecture and the fact that the drip line for the rain came just outside the building walls. We began discussing the Ancestral Puebloans and quickly forgot about the rain, until we began to hear a loud noise. We were lucky enough to see a waterfall coming down from the mesa top along the side of the dwelling. It was quite spectacular! If only I had my camera to show you!
We continued through the site, pointing and looking at neat structures and handprints. At one moment I looked across the canyon, and I couldn’t see across, it was just a blanket of white! It was raining so hard we couldn’t see through it, and then, the waterfall became quite loud, just dumping water off the top. Thankfully it stopped pouring and changed to a gentle rain before our hour was up, and we had a dry climb back to the top.
I must admit my favorite time period here at Mesa Verde is whenever it rains. Rain and water is just so renewing to the landscape, every plant just seems to “jump” life. The colors of the sandstone look like a fresh watercolor painting, so vibrant.
And of course, there ended up being so many puddles! Still to this day, it’s so hard to pinch down the urge to jump in a puddle. Which would be very unprofessional in my NPS uniform. So instead, I just enjoy the reflections on the puddles.
My second tour of the day was great! Sunny skies, cool temperatures, and a great group of visitors. There is a joy of giving tours of Balcony House, watching people overcome their fear of heights and conquering the 32 foot ladder. Slowly but surely after my second tour, the clouds started to move in again.
For my third tour, I mentioned in my safety talk before we went down, that the clouds could possibly give us rain by the time we needed to head out. Not realizing that I left my hat cover and jacket in my car. So we headed on down the trail, as we began to climb the ladder again, we heard a few rumbles from the sky. Didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, no reason to worry, hopefully the rain would hold off until we got to the top. Which it did, for me anyways. Once I made it to the top, I had enough time to run back to my jeep, through my hat inside, and grab my jacket before it decided to unload on us.
It was quite the adventure, and unload it did on us, just began to pour down rain like it had earlier this morning. My visitors and I got SOAKED to our socks and undies. (Too much info?) Even hailed small peas size hail, which was unfortunate for those without hats covering their ears. But everyone seemed to enjoy it.
All in all, a wonderful rainy day. 🙂