Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mesa Verde National Park

After we left the Sand Dunes, we headed to the far southwestern corner of Colorado, to Mesa Verde National Park.

Mesa Verde is basically a big, free-standing mountain with its top lopped of, on and around which members of the Ancestral Pueblo cultures lived from around AD 550 to the late 1200s.

During the last few generations before they disappeared, the Ancestral Puebloans build impressive stone homes under alcoves eroded into the cliff sides.

These cliff dwellings survived surprisingly intact (and some have been partially restored).

There are hundreds of archaeological remains in the park, including cliff dwellings, rock art, storage areas, and the mesa-top homes build prior to the cliff-dwelling era.

I spent part of one summer after I graduated college in this part of Colorado on a volunteer project for an organization that studies, preserves, and educates about archaeological remains of the Ancestral Pueblo, so this area and this history holds a special place in my heart.

We visited a few of the cliff dwellings, both on guided and self-guided tours.

Saw gorgeous sunsets.

And sunrises.

E and Z were sworn in as Junior Rangers.

(Self-portrait with heart-shaped rock.)

We took a nice, long hike and the boys tried out cliff-dwelling.

Bits of history everywhere.

The goal of the hike was this: pictographs.

Just stunningly beautiful. Is it art? A message? A story? A Map?

And the views!!

Another place I'd love to go back to and spend more time, especially in the back country.


  1. Wow, what an amazing place. Would love to visit myself :), I can see why it holds a special place in your heart.

    1. It is! I hope you get a chance to visit someday.

  2. Gosh our world is a pretty amazing place. Thanks for taking me along :) Just stunning!

  3. That is just an amazing place. Your pictures are stunning. Reminds me a bit of Montezuma but so much larger! I would love to walk around a place like that, I bet you felt the spirits of everyone that lived there.

    1. Thanks, Yanic! It was a bit too full of tourists to feel the spirits, but I've visited smaller, remote cliff dwellings where there was definitely a sense in the air of someone having lived there in the past, but no longer.

  4. So beautiful--I keep wanting to head that way. It's really so close to us that I have few excuses.

    1. You should definitely go...once the Little Miss is big enough to climb ladders!!


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