Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

On Friday, we spent the day exploring and checking out the Gila Cliff Dwellings. The loop trail to the ruins was only about a mile, but with all of the steep inclines to get to the dwellings, it took us a couple of hours to completely walk the trail. The above photo was taken as we were approaching the dwellings. These are called cliff dwellings because the ancient people (the Mogollan people) built this community into the side of a cliff.
Here's a closer view as we approach the dwellings. There are actually 6 caves, altho we could only actually enter one of them. These dwellings were occupied by the Mogollan people from about the 1270s to the early 1300s. No one knows why they left this community, but after they left, the dwellings were occupied for a time by (I think) a Navajo tribe and some Spanish explorers.
This was a fairly up-close view of one of the caves and the buildings within it. It's really amazing to see how well they built these and how advanced their techniques were.

The above image is of the inside of one of the rooms in the cave we could enter. The rooms were quite small by our standards, but the average height of the Mogollan were 5'1" for women and about 5'5" for men. The larger hole in the image above is of what appears to be a doorway and the smaller hole above it was either a window or hole to let smoke escape from the fires they built to cook and stay warm during the winter. The elevation of these caves is about 6000 feet above sea level, so they did experience colder weather during the winter months.

I couldn't resist including this image. Yes, it's actually a 2-story building structure! The railing on the top "floor" was put in by the government to keep the tourists from falling off the 2nd floor. The ancient people used ladders and at times, foot holes in the stone to get from one floor to the other. Truly amazing considering these structures were built about 800 years ago!


1 comment:

  1. scrolled down and past the three weeks and in to some of your other adventures...awesome Nadine...great photo's