Aliens in the Apple

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Franci 11 Sep 2012 Being tourists Family The Roadtrip

After the Tschetter reunion we stopped at the Manitou cliff dwellings museum on our way to visit Ben’s cousin Erica and her family in Colorado Springs.

Call me thick, but I only just realised after reading wikipedia that the cliff dwellings are not original, but instead have been relocated to their current location. I’m not sure how we missed that bit… but oh well. It was still an interesting thing to get an idea of how these people lived. I think it’s a pretty cool idea to build a house where you don’t need to build the roof — it’s already there!

What was really great about this place was that you were allowed to go inside, and the kids could climb through the windows and things. How nice when a museum isn’t also a no-touch zone!

Apart from the houses part of the museum, there was also a more museum-like building with history and photos and old tools and whatnot (and of course a great big gift shop where we got a lollipop with a scorpion inside which now lives on our fridge and entertains visitors). One of the most interesting things in the museum (to me) was that the Cliff Dwelling Indians carried their babies on their backs in these wooden cradle/backpack things which resulted in the babies’ heads being flat on the back, bulging over the ears, sometimes so badly that the head was as wide as it was long.

One of the corridors at the back of one of the houses had some great light coming in. I quite like this photo of Marica in black and white, taking advantage of the stark contrasts in the lighting.

Comments (3)

Hannah Claire Holder 11 Sep 2012 at 5:40pm

Love the girls in the window (first of those, especially) and the 4 of you. And that they/you were free to climb around. I’m so glad that’s still possible at some sites! Weird to find out afterward that the dwellings had been moved to that location, but maybe good to thoroughly enjoy them at the time without that niggling in the back of your mind during the tour/exploring.

Lois Hoyt 13 Sep 2012 at 7:07am

My first thought when I started reading was, “Cliff dwellings on the way to Erica’s place? I better check my geography.” So I’m glad you explained. I remember visiting some cliff dwellings when I was about 7 1/2 months pregnant with Lydia - I can’t quite remember where - and we climbed up a rope ladder to get to them.

Laurel 14 Sep 2012 at 6:33am

Yes, I remember visiting some cliff dwellings too - probably the same ones Mum mentions. I had thought it was on our way out to NZ when we moved here. But sounds like it was even before that. It is pretty impressive seeing the hovels in their actual cliffs. You mean, people lived like that?? But then I guess the little Maori huts at Willowbank aren’t any more commodious!