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The two RV Gypsies toured the Puye Cliff Dwellings
in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico
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The Puye Cliff Dwellings (a place between earth and sky) are the ruins of an abandoned pueblo, located in Santa Clara Canyon on Santa Clara Pueblo land near EspaƱola, New Mexico. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966 under the name Puye Ruins.

sign: The Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center

sign: Welcome to Puye Cliff Dwellings

While waiting for the tour, the two RV Gypsies got a peek at the cliff dwellings from the Puye Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center. These rooms dug into the cliff wall extend for over a mile along the south face of the Puye mesa, at two separate levels.

panorama of the Puye Cliff Dwellings
cliff dwelling
cliff dwelling

The Puye Cliffs complex, the largest complex on the Pajarito Plateau, includes two levels of cliff-dwellings. One level of cliff dwellings is over 1 mile long and the second is about 2,100 feet long. There are several ways of touring the cliff dwellings, including taking a gentle jeep ride to the top and down again, which the two RV Gypsies did not do.

the ladder up the cliff dwelling
the ladder up the cliff dwelling
The Two RV Gypsies took a look around the museum at the Puye Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center, before starting their tour.
sign In museum: 12,000 years of clues
sign in museum: Welcome to Puye Cliff Dwellings
The two RV Gypsies waiting to start the Puye Cliff Dwelling tour
Karen Duquette waiting to start the Puye Cliff Dwelling tour
The two RV Gypsies waiting to start the Puye Cliff Dwelling tour

clipart of a history bookBelow: Lee Duquette and Judith, the Native American tour guide. All the guides are tribe members. Judith's knowledge of the dwellings was phenomenal and shared with an obvious pride in her native heritage. Although the trail goes up several levels, most of it was a flat, easy trail with frequent stops to hear the history of the dwellings.

Lee Duquette and Judith, the Native American tour guide

clipart: history bookThe dwellings were carved out of soft volcanic tuff on about a 200 foot cliff ridge. The rock is relatively soft and can be excavated using wooden tools. The cliff dwellings held about 740 rooms, and ruins at the base of the cliff likely held additional dwellings. On top of the mesa are cave dwellings of the Pueblo II Era around which a multi-storied puebloan village was built. The south portion of the complex had 173 rooms on the ground floor.

close-up of the cliff dwellings
close-up of the cliff dwellings
Lee Duquette checking out a cave
Lee Duquette on the trail
Below: As the two RV Gypsies walked by this big stone, they thought it looked like a side view of sad face. Just look at the frowning mouth.
laughing clipart dudelook at the frowning mouth. on this rock
The photos below are of the old trail that is no longer in use because of fallen rocks. Thank goodness.
the old trail
fallen rocks
In the photo below, a large piece of fallen rock has wedged itself sideways.
a large piece of fallen rock
a large piece of fallen rock
View inside the cave dwellings
View inside the cave dwellings
View inside the cave dwellings View inside the cave dwellings
Large, circular holes are carved into the cliff. Petroglyphs are seen on the walls.
Large, circular holes
openings in the cave dwellings
Looking upward at a petroglyph and looking to the left at people on one of the harder tour trails.
a petroglyph
a different trail
looking outward from the trail
looking outward from the trail
looking outward from the trail
looking outward from the trail
looking outward from the trail
the cliff dwellings
the cliff dwellings
the cliff dwellings
the cliff dwellings
The two RV Gypsies climbed a short ladder up to the next level.
a short ladder to the next level
a short ladder to the next level
a short ladder to the next level
Lee Duquette at the Cliff Dwellings
Lee Duquette at the Cliff Dwellings
Lee Duquette at the Cliff Dwellings
Karen Duquette at the Cliff Dwellings
a storage hole
cave dwelling
the two RV Gypsies at the Puye Cliff Dwellings
restricted access area
Karen Duquette climbed up the Restricted Access area shown above and then got a great view from the resting area. This was not a mandatory climb. Lee did not climb it.
Karen Duquette climbing up the Restrcted Access area
a view from the resting area
At the top level of the cave dwellings, the ground was wide and level. The views of the Rio Grande region were spectacular.
Rio Grande region
Rio Grande region
The two levels of cliff dwellings, the mesa top and reconstructed 'Community House' are accessed by paths and about twelve stairs OR ladders cut into the side of the cliff, OR an easy jeep ride on a normal road.
Lee Duquette by the Community House
Lee Duquette by the Community House
Lee Duquette inside the Community House. Karen did not go down.
Lee Duquette in the Community House
inside the Community House
Susan filming from inside the Community House
other guest takes photo inside the Community Hous
the ladder to exit the Community House Lee Duquette exiting the Community House
Karen Duquette at the top of the cave dwellings.
Karen Duquette at the top of the cave dwellings.
the top of the cave dwellings.
the top of the cave dwellings. the top of the cave dwellings.
View from the top of the cliff.
View from the top of the cliff
Below: Pieces of pottery and stone that everyone was invited to touch and examine close up, but they must be put back where they were found.
pieces of pottery and stone
The cliff dwellings and buildings on top the mesa are reconstructed buildings from the original stones, but they are not the original buildings.
on top the mesa
on top the mesa
on top the mesa
close-up of the dwelling
Looking back down at the Visitor Center
Looking back down at the Visitor Center

Finishing off the tour by climbing down the ladder.

Lee Duquette climbing down the ladder Lee Duquette climbing down the ladder
Lee Duquette climbing down the ladder Lee Duquette climbing down the ladder

About 1580 drought finally forced the villagers to leave for locations nearer to the Rio Grande valley. Present day inhabitants of Santa Clara Pueblo, some 10 miles to the east, are descendants of the Puye. The American Indians living in pueblo in northern New Mexico traditionally speak the Tewa language. The Tewa name 'Puye' can be translated as 'pueblo ruin where the rabbits assemble or meet'.

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Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Albuquerque, NM

You may visit these four (4) sites in any order you choose
Sandia Peak Aerial Tram Cliff Dwelling

Boca Negra Canyon
& Petroglyphs

Pajarito Plateau
& Rio Grande Valley
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go to the adventures of the two RV Gypsies in Las Cruces, New MexicoAFTER you have viewed all four (4) sections above, please continue on to Las Cruces, New Mexico