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Sign: Welcome to Mesa Verde National Park

The two RV Gypsies at
Mesa Verde National Park
in Colorado
September 3, 2012

MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK

clipart of a history bookIn the early 1900's, America's obsession with the automobile reached Mesa Verde National Park and quickly influenced the park's development. In 1914, a narrow dirt road was completed into the park. Two Studebakers, two Fords, one Reo, and one Hupmobile were the first automobiles to make the arduous journey from Mancos to what is now the Park Headquarters. The trip took three hours and visitors were charged $1.00 per car. Improvements and yearly maintenance became a necessity on the narrow park road. Eventually, the Knife Edge Road was surfaced with asphalt. This section of the road was abandoned in 1957 when the Morefield-Prater tunnel was constructed.

first cliff formations seen when entering Mesa Verde National Park
cliff formation at Mesa Verde National Park
sign about Mesa Top Loop Road

Mancos Valley Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park

The town of Mancos in the valley shown in the photos below, historically served as the "Gateway to Mesa Verde."

panorama of Mancos Valley from Mancos Valley Overlook
view of cliffs from Mancos Valley Overlook
view of cliffs from Mancos Valley Overlook
view of the valley from Mancos Valley Overlook
view of the valley from Mancos Valley Overlook

Knife Edge Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park - an apt description for this precarious access into Mesa Verde. On the date that the two RV Gypsies were here the trail was only open to the point shown in the photos below, so the two RV Gypsies could not get far enough down the trail to see The Knife Poin - however, The Knife Point was viewable from Park Point. (Keep scrolling down this page for those photos).

panorama from Knife Edge Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park

Karen Duquette at the beginning of Knife Edge Road - but the trail itself was closed at that time.

Karen Duquette at the beginning of Knife Edge Road
the beginning of Knife Edge Road
sign about Knife Edge Road

Much like today, work crews in the 1930's were kept busy clearing the park road.poster from 1930's at Knife Edge Road

Scenery from Knife Edge Road - the famous Knife Edge Cliff could not be seen from here due to the trail being closed, but it was seen from Park Point later on in Mesa Verde National Park.

Scenery from Knife Edge Road
Scenery from Knife Edge Road
a dead tree and Scenery from Knife Edge Road
Karen Duquette with her hair messed up from the blowing wind at Knife Edge Road

The Morefield-Prater Tunnel - constructed in 1957

The Morefield-Prater Tunnel
The Morefield-Prater Tunnel
inside The Morefield-Prater Tunnel
inside The Morefield-Prater Tunnel

Below: A neatly painted car in the parking lot at Park Point Overlook.

painted car
painted car

Park Point Overlook sign and the view behind the sign of the valley.

Park Point Overlook sign
view of the valley from the bottom of Park Point Overlook
sign saying Park Point is a short, gentle trail

All of the lookout points at Park Point are short, easy trails.

map of trails at Park Point
scenery form Park Point trail
Lee Duquette looking into the valley from the bottom of Park Point trail

Perched upon the highest elevation within Mesa Verde, the historic Park Point Fire Lookout is used to locate wildfires. With visibility of up to 100 miles, the lookout serves federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as private landowners.

In earlier years, the lookout was staffed round the clock during fire season. Spotters lived, ate, and slept in a one-room building. Today, the lookout is staffed only during high fire danger periods; May through September. The legacy of Park Point fire spotters has continued for over 70 years.

sign about fire on the Mesa
 

Below: Remember the first overlook on this page with the closed trail? Here at Park Point is a poster and some photos taken by the two RV Gypsies showing The Knife Edge that couldn't be reached from the Knife Edge Trail.

POSTER

post of The Knife Edge

Below: The two RV Gypsies took photos of The Knife Edge from various places at Park Point.

photo of The  Knife Edge from Park Point
photo of The  Knife Edge from Park Point
panorama of The Knife Edge from Park Point

The trail at Park Point continued for more wonderful scenery at Mesa Verde National Park.

The trail at Park Point
panorama of scenery and the roads at Mesa Verde National Park
scenery and the roads at Mesa Verde National Park
scenery and the roads at Mesa Verde National Park

Sleeping Ute Mountain at Mesa Verde National Park

panorama of Sleeping Ute Mountain at Mesa Verde National Park

(Below: photo of sign) -- Sleeping Ute Mountain -- Below: photo by Karen

sign showing Sleeping Ute Mountain at Mesa Verde National Park
photo of Sleeping Ute Mountain at Mesa Verde National Park
sign about the scenery from Park Point

Below: The formation called Shiprock - 46 miles away (elevation: 7,175 feet) The point of Shiprock can barely be seen in the photo because views on this date were reduced by airborne dust, smoke, moisture, and human pollutants. Inversions which trap particles under a layer of dense air can further reduce air quality.

The formation called Shiprock - 46 miles away

Shiprock, a prominent landmark, is known to the Dine' (Navajo) as Tse'-Bit-A'i (rock with wings) and represents the remains of a great bird. The two RV Gypsies also photographed Shiprock when they visited Four Corners, USA. Those pictures can be seen by returning to the Colorado main menu.

sign about The formation called Shiprock
sign about The formation called Shiprock

Montezuma Valley Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park - It is likely that more people lived in the Montezuma Valley in the 12th century than live in the valley now.

sign about Montezuma Valley Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park
panorama of Montezuma Valley Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park
Montezuma Valley Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park
Montezuma Valley Overlook at Mesa Verde National Park
history clipart booksign about what's on the next page
sign about what's on the next page
look below

Check out what's on the next pageAs mentioned in the row above, check out the Pueblo Village, Pithouse, Badger House, Kodak House and learn about the first Ancestral Puebloans at Mesa Verde as presented at the Mesa Top Loop Road at Mesa Verde National Park.