Although I generally avoid “touristy” trips, I was very intrigued by the idea of ancient cliff dwellings so I decided to devote part of a day to viewing a few of the ruins. The Ancient Puebloans occupied this area about 1,400 years ago- long before Europeans explored North America. They lived there for 700 years – 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. I learned from the park rangers that one of the theories/contributing factors for why they moved was a 50 year drought!
View of Mesa Verde National Park from the highway at sunset
Partial side view of Spruce Tree House
Cliff Palace is the largest and best-known of the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde. The site has 150 identified rooms and 23 kivas.
A section of Balcony House. To get there we had to climb up a 32 ft. ladder, crawl through a 12ft.-long tunnel, and climb up a 60 ft open rock face with and another 10 ft ladder to exit!
Getting ready to crawl through the tunnel. Notice how narrow it is!!
After Mesa Verde- on my way to the ice lakes trail- I stopped in Durango for lunch. I had always imagined Durango to have a very southwestern feel to it- with a lot of mexican and native american influences. Boy was I wrong! From the parts we visited, Durango appeared to be this colorful little hippie town at the base of the mountains. They have a gorgeous main street and the tree lined streets with beautiful old homes makes me want to live there! I stopped for lunch at Raw Heaven- situated inside an old schoolhouse. I had a wonderful raw pizza and a berry custard pie for dessert.
In the courtyard behind the schoolhouse I got my hoop on for a bit. It’d been way to long since I hooped!
Walking through town, I stumbled upon an Interdependence Day festival (told ya- “hippie”). Interdependence as a social movement began to grow momentum around 2003. The NYC-based “Interdependence Movement (IM)” network is dedicated to advancing new ideas in order to “cope with a changing world that is faced with accelerated globalization, starker inequities between nations, and profound security and environmental threats.” I like that.
I was so excited to see a Food Not Bombs table set up. Food Not Bombs shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities around the world to protest war, poverty and the destruction of the environment.
They even had a giant slip-n-slide!
And super rad VW buses!