Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reunited and it Feels So Good: Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park
We had a fabulous weekend road trip adventure. We met our good friends in Cortez, Colorado {sort of half way between ABQ and SLC} which is about a 5 hour drive from Albuquerque. Tia & Ella have been great friends for years & have maintained a steady snail mail correspondence since we moved. We were truly grateful the Blooms were willing to make the long trek to visit with us.
Parts of the area still had lovely color.
Mesa Verde National Park
But the park, at nearly 7,000 ft. was past peak. The setting was still gorgeous and the  weather could not have been more perfect.
Mesa Verde National Park
The pueblos were amazing. Even though most of the park was closed for the season, we had plenty to do & see on our visit. Ancestral Pueblo people lived in this ares for over 700 years between A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. I read that the homes {like the ones shown} were probably occupied in the last 100 years of their stay. The park includes over 600 cliff dwellings & many have been restored.
The kids loved climbing all the ladders. I learned that I would have been a giant among the people who lived in these homes. And, if I had been lucky enough to still be alive at my old age, I probably would have been a great grandmother.
Mesa Verde National Park
Some of the dwellings can't be accessed. Can you see the houses under the overhang?
Mesa Verde National Park
The buildings are very impressive considering there was no machinery or tools. And, I was astonished that researchers discovered cotton (which would have traveled from a southern location) and chocolate (South American treasure) in the area. Who knew trading was that expansive 800 years ago.
Junior Rangers
After our first adventure, we had a leisurely lunch and the kids completed their Junior Ranger work.
They were officially sworn in as Junior Rangers and we tackled one last dwelling before the kids demanded pool time. Is there anything better than a hotel pool when you are a kid? 
The nice thing about this park is that you could spend half a day or several days in the area. So many hikes and little areas to explore.

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