Monday, August 31, 2015

Mesa Verde National Park

Ten million years ago, a.k.a. Memorial Day weekend, Mike and I went to visit Mesa Verde National Park. It’s about a five hour drive west from where we live in Trinidad, and is a really pretty drive! On the way, we stopped in the towns of Pagosa Springs and Durango. Both are super cute and picturesque little towns with mountains in the background.

When we arrived at Mesa Verde it was sprinkling. We checked out the visitor center and signed up for two tours the next day. We then went over to the campground and checked in at our campsite. By this time, it was full-on raining. It didn’t stop raining the whole night! So Mike and I didn’t even bother setting up the tent or trying to make a fire. We ended up sitting in our car eating snacks and people watching. This was a way different scenario from what we normally do while camping, but we had SO much fun!

In the morning it was still overcast, but it quickly cleared up and turned into a beautiful day! We started the day with a tour of Balcony House. Before we began the tour, the ranger warned us we would have to climb a 30-foot ladder and crawl through a narrow tunnel. The ladder made me nervous, but it was totally worth it. The views are amazing and the history of the people who once lived in these cliff dwellings is awe inspiring.

 Can you spot the hand in the middle of the picture? That was made by one of the Puebloan Indians that lived here!
Mike was not a fan of this tunnel! It was a little tight for him.

After Balcony House, Mike and I had about an hour until our next tour so we checked out some overlooks and the museum. Look closely at the next two pictures to spot the cliff dwellings.

Next was our tour of Cliff Palace. When you think of Mesa Verde, you’re thinking of Cliff Palace. Its unreal how well preserved these dwellings are. Cliff Palace is the largest of the dwellings at Mesa Verde and was home to several families.

These round holes are called kivas. They originally had roofs on them and fires burning inside. The families would gather in them to keep warm and get out of the wind.

Mesa Verde is such a special place. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to spend some time here and take the tours. There is a lot of history in the cliff dwellings and still a great deal of mystery surrounding the people who once resided in them. 

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