32 foot ladder and 12 foot tunnel

32 foot ladder and 12 foot tunnel

Cliff dwelling ladder
The 32-foot ladder to enter Balcony House

The Park Service warnings about the Balcony House tour at Mesa Verde National Park were a bit intimidating. Climb a 32 foot ladder to enter the cliff dwelling and crawl through a 12 foot long, 18 inch wide tunnel. The ranger at the visitor center didn’t help when he said he had never done that tour because he’s afraid of heights. But, it was the only tour open a couple weeks before Memorial Day, so I bought a ticket and fretted about doing the tour.

Fortunately, when I was waiting for the tour to start, I met the Lockhart family from Boise, Idaho. As we talked about our park experiences (and a bit of apprehension about this particular tour), the idea of the ladder and tunnel didn’t seem quite as all-consuming.

I tagged along with the Lockharts through the whole tour. Kind of felt like part of the family! Up the ladder and through the tunnel. (Turned out the 18-inch-wide parts were only the two ends.) And, up the two ten-foot ladders they hadn’t initially told us about, and up the cliff-side where there were foot-sized indentations, combined with a chain and railing to hold onto while climbing. (The photo at the top is me coming up the last ladder.)

A few days later, I was thinking about how great that Balcony House tour turned out to be. Maybe a little of it was doing something that was a bit scary for me. Also, I think it was meeting such friendly and supportive people. Despite some initial concern and/or fear, I really enjoyed the Balcony House tour.

And, here’s a photo of the Lockharts:

the lockharts from Boise
Nancy, Jerry, Mary and Alan Lockhart

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