Behind the Scenes at Mesa Verde: Wetherill Mesa

Overnight in Mesa Verde National Park

Field Trip

Friday, September 9–Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde, 2006Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde, 2006Half of a stereoview by Jason S. Ordaz.Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde, 2006Half of a stereoview by Jason S. Ordaz.

President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park to “preserve the works of man,” the first national park of its kind. Today, the continued preservation of both cultural and natural resources is the focus of the park’s management staff. Scott Travis, Chief of Research and Resource Management at Mesa Verde, will be our guide on this unique opportunity to have an exclusive look at Wetherill Mesa, which is usually off-limits to the public at this time of the year. Wetherill Mesa forms the western boundary of Mesa Verde and contains the second-largest concentration of ruins in the area, including the spectacular Long House, which with 150 rooms and 21 kivas, is the second-largest ruin in the park. Depending upon trail conditions, we will have the opportunity to visit Step House, Badger House, Mug House, and Bobcat Canyon as we learn about the early history of archaeology undertaken by Wetherill, Nusbaum, Nordenskiöld, and the 1959–1965 Wetherill Mesa Archaeological Project, one of the largest archaeological projects ever conducted in the United States.

Our trip to Wetherill Mesa is more than just a visit to another cliff dwelling. It offers archaeological viewing in near solitude and with an expert guide with life-long experiences working in two Southwestern National Parks that protect Ancestral Puebloan and Basketmaker cultures. Scott Travis was the Chief Archaeologist and the Park Superintendent at Canyon de Chelly for many years and hosted several SAR trips. His new position at Mesa Verde gives us an opportunity to gain insight into the cultural and natural resource management issues that face a heavily visited park. During our journey, we will also experience spectacular vistas of Montezuma Valley, Rock Canyon, and the Sleeping Ute Mountain.

Activity Level: Moderately Strenuous, walking on both paved and unpaved trails and up and down steps to visit a variety of archaeological sites and landscape vistas. Bring your camera for this trip. Please call the Membership Office at (505) 954-7203 if you are uncertain about your physical ability to participate.

Cost (per person): $390 for Standard room or $440 for Kiva room (double occupancy), $495 for Standard room or $595 for Kiva room (single occupancy). For detailed room descriptions, visit Far View Lodge. The cost includes group transportation in the park on September 10, two nights accommodation at the Far View Lodge, all meals starting with dinner on Friday, September 9 and ending with lunch on Sunday, September 11. Park entrance fees and transportation to and from Mesa Verde National Park are not included.

Trip Registration: Participation in SAR field trips is one of the benefits of membership. This trip is currently full, but we are accepting names for the wait list, either by telephone (505) 954-7230) or walk-in at the SAR Membership Office, 660 Garcia Street.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

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