Tag Archives: American National Park

Road Trip~ Mesa Verde National Park

12 Apr

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

 

Day 13, September 19, 2017

Another beautiful morning at the condo in Pagossa Springs. After a day of feeling wonky, I felt better and ready for another day of exploring. Today our plan was to visit Mesa Verde National Park. A nice check off on my husband’s bucket list. But first, I need my coffee and quiet time.

 

Coffee at Mesa Verde

 

The drive to Mesa Verde took around an hour, maybe a little more. We weren’t in a hurry and I enjoyed the drive through Durango. I let my imagination roam to cowboys and the wild west. But the people of Mesa Verde pre-date the cowboys by multiple centuries.

From the National Park Service website:

Ancestral Pueblo People of Mesa Verde

About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region chose Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away. Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture.

Once we arrived at the entrance to the park, it was another 2o miles to the museum which is a must stop. There you can pick up literature describing the drives and if you have an inclination to take a ranger guided tour, you can pay for your tickets there.

 

Before we made it to the museum, we made a comfort stop. The husband is an experienced outdoors facility judge, so we take a picture of the ones he rates. LOL.

 

Pam and I stayed in the truck!

 

Rebekah and her ever-present camera.

 

Along with picking up brochures and maps at the museum, we stopped in the cafeteria to pick up a necessary adventure supply, I had forgotten to pack.

 

I’ll leave it to you to imagine which one represents me!

 

The park contains over 5000 archeological sites across 40+ miles of roads. After leaving the museum, we chose one of the easy drives through the park. We were there in off peak season so places to pull over were readily available.  There were a lot of Pit houses preserved under shelters.

 

 

Eventually they moved from the Pit houses to tree houses, built into the overhang of cliffs. It must have been exhausting climbing up and down and dangerous as well. I couldn’t imagine a mother trying to keep her children safe. Then for unknown reasons around 1200 A.D. the people let, just disappeared.

Rebekah and her dad. They share a love of photography.

 

 

On a previous trip west we had planned to visit Mesa Verde but the park was hit with a serious forest fire.

 

 

It was a nice walk out to the fire observation tower.

As we were driving slowly along the Navajo Overlook, we felt as if we were being followed. Pam’s sharp eyes found our stalker.

 

 

 

Tree Houses

 

 

 

 

Pam and I taking a break while Mike and Rebekah snapped photos

 

Spruce Tree House

 

Spruce Tree House is a favorite ruin to explore as there is an easy walking trail for closer viewing. Unfortunately, the trail was under repair so we had to view it from this building, which in my opinion was more pleasant than walking!

 

 

We didn’t see all of the sites as we drove through the park. Dusk was approaching and we didn’t want to be driving on unfamiliar roads after dark. We enjoyed a quick meal back at the museum before driving down the mountain. Sunset would be a magical time to drive down, but we were a bit too early.

 

My shadow stalking me!

 

I found Mesa Verde a fascinating place. Echoes of ancient times seemed to whisper in the air. Why did they move into the cliffs and why did they abandon them in a mere hundred years? Where did they go?  The park website has some incredible photos and videos. I encourage you to visit it at NPS.gov

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