We wanted learn more about Native American culture before we headed home.
Mesa Verde National Park, nestled in the SW corner of Colorado, could promise us that.
American Indians spent thousands of years basically being nomadic people. They didn’t leave many footprints.
But 300 miles NW of the Grand Canyon were cliff dwellings, the
rare architectural remains of people who lived 800 years ago. We wanted to see them.
WInding our way around, up, and down huge flat-topped mesas made us feel pretty heady and somewhat small.Three hours into the journey it started getting very Indian. Burger King had a hogan outside. When we saw signs pointing to Monument Valley we detoured in its direction.
For an hour and a half we were drifting by these terra-cotta treasures. Red rocks poking up from the desert 500 feet or more. We found ourselves saying “wow” a lot.
At sunset we finally reached Mesa Verde Park fearful that the campground would be full. Were we wrong, the place was nearly empty. People apparently are not drawn to this enormous national park. But we were there and we had a great time.
Exploring the multiple villages, many built into the sides of cliffs, was fascinating to us.
The ancestral Puebloans
only lived in these cliffs for 200 hundred years before they moved on. Why they did is unknown. Some guess they ran out of water or game to hunt. Maybe the rest of us will have to move some day for similar reasons.