Thursday, December 23, 2010

Obsession and Claustrophobia at Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park, located in the southwestern corner of Colorado, is a great interactive place. One of the more adventurous cliff dwellings of the ancestral Puebloan people is Balcony House. This cliff dwelling is only available on a ranger-guided tour and involves climbing a 32 foot ladder, crawling through a 12 foot-long tunnel, and climbing up a 60 foot open rock face with two 10 foot ladders to exit the site.

While on the tour I waited in line to crawl through a narrow 12 foot-long tunnel, a woman in front of me froze up and screamed she was claustrophobic. After making a scene she turned to me commanded that I go before her. I happily obliged and squeezed my way through the tunnel being careful not to damage my Canon 5D camera all the while listening to the woman behind me continue to whine and complain.

At the conclusion of the tour we had to climb two ladders to exit the site. I stayed behind the rest of the tour group to get some unobstructed views of the cliff dwelling before heading up. I then spotted the annoying and claustrophobic woman approaching me so I decided to get to the ladders before she did.

As I approached the first ladder, I paused for a moment to adjust my camera around my shoulder and not before Ms. Claustrophobia shrieked, “What’s the matter?! Are you afraid of heights?!”

“No, I’m just adjusting my camera so it won’t swing unnecessarily against the wall and break into pieces” I calmly replied, “you do realize the entire tour group scaled a 32 foot ladder to begin the tour?”

“Oh, you must be one of those types really obsessed with photography!” she snorted.

I turned my back to her and started to climb the ladder.

“By the way please stay behind me at least 150 to 200 yards. Annoying people make me claustrophobic. Thank you.”

She yelled back some expletive but I kept a smile on my face the whole time.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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