National Geographic : 1948 Sep
Ancient Cliff Dwellers ofMesa Verde for it is his duty to bring these people "back alive." By this time he knows every person in the party and has singled out those who need help. In one party the youngest member I was a girl of three; the oldest a veteran of 88. Neither of these needed help; they climbed the ladder with perfect ease. When the visitor steps off the ladder,he isinoneendofthe cave, but his viewof the ruin is cut off bya high wall. He follows the ranger througha dark passage along the rear wall of the cave and suddenly steps into the ruin. It is a breath-taking moment. Here isa large open adobe-paved court with the vaulted cave roof hanging far out over it. On three sides ofthe court are beautifully built two-story houses. Along the fourth side is the sheer cliff. The cliff holds no terrorfor the visitor now; the Cliff Dwellers builtaIndian Folklore IsSandoval Beg; low sturdy wall along This patriarch leads agroup ofNavajos insin Setk tirnightly campfire inMesa Verde National Park. H the edge to keep their the mesa top near Cliff Palace and helps maintain t children from falling famous old Navajo judge, Sandoval wears abright into the abyss (p. 363). and turquoise necklace andearrings. Practically every visitor steps to thiswall and, leaning onitBalcony House ha chin in hands, gazessilently into the canyon. tures: houses, storage It is a thrillingview. Seven hundred ceremonial rooms. feet below is the tiny arroyo atthe bottom The houses are sin of the canyon. Beyond itrises the opposite seldom larger than 8 wall, and in the sheer cliffs sharp eyes can have window openings discern more caves and cliff dwellings, averaging about 16by Two-story Houses I No need to explain wh chose the high cavesfor security is obvious.Ra could not come in;no1 invade. The villages we swallow's nest hanging on 353 ay's Specialty ging and dancing around a[ealso tends acornfield onhepark grounds. Son of agold shirt, yellow headband, sthree types of struc erooms, and kivas, orIple, rectangular rooms, by 10feet. Very few ,and the doors are small, 24inches. Every door- Sisill istwo orthree feet above the floor. Some ave Balconies ofthe walls are plain, some areplastered; alythe Cliff Dwellers few bear paintings inredand white. The their homes. Their roofs ofpoles and adobe are low, often too in,snow, and wind low toclear the head of astanding person. human enemy could Each room was once the home of afamily. ere as secure as any Itserved principally asasleeping room and the face of acliff, initwere stored the family possessions.