Mesa Verde: Cliff Palace tour, hike with an elderly Mom

One of the baby boomer themes of the summer road trip was taking my 82 year old Mom on a cross country adventure that satisfied my vacation ideas and hers too. Although my mother is getting up there in years, she is an adventurous soul, which made it easier. As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my Mom has macular degeneration that is making a hole in her vision in one eye, resulting in bad depth perception and dangerous driving. Hence, I am doing the driving for our trip.

Anyway, we were not sure about the logistic of hiking down into and out of the ruins at Mesa Verde given the vision problems. I am happy to report that Mom did splendidly and if you want to repeat our trip, your family will do fine as well. Remember that young children also may need an extra hand to steady them during the climb too. I might mention too that my grandmother (who was always old) went with us on our first Mesa Verde trip in 1960. Everyone needs to get out, to get exercise and to do things to build memories with family.

Mom took along her walking stick that she had made from a saguaro cactus spine for balance. You can find some really great walking sticks made by woodworking artisans in your travels – in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, etc – that will be a special talisman to you. And she was able to use her stick for balance as we walked along, or I would walk in front and she would place a hand on my shoulder to reasure her.

Going down into the Cliff Palace was steep, coming back out was climbing a ladder up. The ranger gave a speech when we started that warned people with health problems not to go. We thought that they did this to cover their liability and as I said, Mom did just great. Afterward she was tired though and did not visit any other ruins that day, so plan to pace your trip for the young and the old in your travel party.

I enjoyed stopping at all the overlooks, taking photos and chasing the jays and lizards around for their pictures and we did proceed toward our next destination, Ouray – near Telluride - that afternoon.

Travel tip: Get a walking stick when hiking if your steps are sometimes unsteady. It helps and may give you the confidence you need to attempt a hike, walk or climb on your travels.

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About Lindsay Godfree

I was born and raised in Colorado Springs but have also lived in Utah and Arizona. I am m inspired everyday by six beautiful daughters. Currently traveling the highways and byways. Writing as the National/International Cross Country Travel Writer for and other freelance articles. Currently working on my new web-site blog and hope to see you there!