Sky & Cliff

Photography Now and Then #14

Today’s photo: Dark sky on the way home from the gym, 3 PM, Sunday, January 14, 2018, Russellville, Arkansas (Apple iPhone 6s)

Today’s photo1: Dark sky on the way home from the gym, 3 PM, Sunday, January 14, 2018, Russellville, Arkansas (Apple iPhone 6s)

We usually skip the gym on Sundays, but, as cold as it is – barely above freezing – , we decided to go to the gym to get out for a bit… and get some exercise.  We had a trace of snow on the ground this morning, the first for this winter.

Photot Favorite: Cliff Palace (cliff dwelling), Mesa Vere National Park, Colorado, September 13, 2009 (Pentax K10D)

Photo Favorite2: Cliff Palace (cliff dwelling), Mesa Vere National Park, Colorado, September 13, 2009 (Pentax K10D)

This is actually a fairly unique mid-morning photo of Cliff Palace – there are no people in the picture. The photo was taken between one group departing to climb back up to the top of the “mesa” and the arrival of the next group of ranger led visitors. We were at the top waiting our group’s turn to go down the trail to the ruins.

Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The structure built by the Ancestral Puebloans is located in Mesa Verde National Park in their former homeland region. The cliff dwelling and park are in the southwestern corner of Colorado, in the Southwestern United States. Tree-ring dating indicates that construction and refurbishing of Cliff Palace was continuous approximately from 1190 CE through 1260 CE, although the major portion of the building was done within a 20-year time span. The Ancestral Pueblo that constructed this cliff dwelling and the others like it at Mesa Verde were driven to these defensible positions by “increasing competition amidst changing climatic conditions.” Cliff Palace was abandoned by 1300, and while debate remains as to the causes of this, some believe that a series of megadroughts interrupting food production systems is the main cause. Cliff Palace was rediscovered in 1888 by Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason while out looking for stray cattle.3

Recent studies reveal that Cliff Palace contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas and had a population of approximately 100 people. Out of the nearly 600 cliff dwellings concentrated within the boundaries of the park, 75% contain only 1-5 rooms each, and many are single room storage units. If you visit Cliff Palace you will enter an exceptionally large dwelling which may have had special significance to the original occupants. It is thought that Cliff Palace was a social, administrative site with high ceremonial usage.4


  1. Today’s Photo is a photo that is almost always taken the day of the blog post.  In some instances, posts may be backdated if internet access is not available on the day of the photo or other reasons prevent posting Now and Then.
  2. Photo Favorite is a randomly selected older photograph from a batch of photos specifically “curated” for Now and Then.
  3. Cliff Palace – Wikipedia
  4. Cliff Palace – National Park Service

Note: Reference links were accessed on the date the blog post was published, unless otherwise stated.

Arkansas, cave, Colorado, hiking, history, landscape, Now and Then, parks, photo favorite, photography, today’s photo

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