Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Petroglyph Point Loop Trail (Mesa Verde National Park)

One of the largest and best known group of petroglyphs in the Mesa Verde National Park is found along the Petroglyph Point Loop Trail, and when we took this hike we found ourselves scrambling up and down steps, squeezing through giant boulders, and trekking through various wildlife habitats. At times the trail was surrounded by trees making the trail shady and cool. Other portions were more exposed and sparse where the effects of the sun were quite intense. The hike was moderately strenuous with only about 200-feet elevation gain over the 3-mile loop, but with areas of uneven terrain, and a winding trail with many ups and downs, we felt the strain by the time we reached the petroglyphs, located near the top of the climb. It was intriguing to think we were following the same trails the ancient Puebloans used all those centuries ago, and to ponder the meaning of the Rock Art and the importance it may have held for the artists and the people of those times. Modern Hopi have interpreted the petroglyphs as depictions of various clans of people, including the clans of Eagle, Mountain Sheep, Parrot, Horned Toad, Mountain Lion, and the Ancestral Puebloans. Perhaps this was the interpretation of the original rock artists, but nobody can say for sure. This hike ranks high among the many adventures we enjoyed during our visit to the park.