Visiting the cliff dwellings

Ever since I’ve heard of them, I’ve found the native American cliff-dwellings fascinating.  So while Julie did her class today, I visited one – the Puye Cliff Dwellings.  They did not disappoint.

They are less than an hour from Santa Fe.  But the drive, which goes through several Indian reservations, is remote and beautiful.  The last six miles go across empty scrublands.  At the end, you find the cliffs.

To do the tour, you climb up steep staircases, ladders, and even steeper rock stairs.

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The view from the cliffs is spectacular.

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The dwellings a long line of caves that once had structures built out of them.

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I loved them.

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At the top of the mesa, we were met with a rain and hail squall that did nothing to dampen my spirits.

There were several adobe buildings.

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There was a kiva, an Indian holy place.  It’s a chamber dug into the ground with a roof that you enter through a ladder.  The Pueblo Indians used an underground chamber because they believed people emerged from the earth.  So when you emerge from under the earth to the surface, it is like being reborn.

We entered the kiva, but were not allowed to take pictures.  Here’s a photo of the outside.

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This was a marvelous trip.

I followed it up by visiting nearby Los Alamos.  All in all, it was a bit disappointing.  There really isn’t much there to see – one small history museum, another museum describing the science work done there for the Manhattan Project and now.  The one thing that gave me pause was full-scale models of the Little Boy and Fat Man atom bombs used to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  These included detailed descriptions of the design aspects of the bombs.  Rather chilling.

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Then I picked up Julie and we took a Ghosts of Santa Fe tour.  Much fun, though I was the skeptic of the bunch.  But while I don’t believe in ghosts, I certainly believe in ghost stories.  And the tour had many wonderful ones.

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A good day!


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